Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker dies aged 67

Walter Becker, who worked as a guitarist, bassist and co-writer for rock band Steely Dan, is dead. The first confirmation of Becker's passing came via his official website, which simply read, "Walter Becker: Feb. 20 1950 - September 03 2017".

Becker and Fagen formed Steely Dan after meeting in 1967 as students at Bard College, a private liberal arts college in NY.

"Safe travels along the cosmos to Walter Becker: you changed my life".

Becker was born in Queens, and he graduated from Stuyvesant, one of New York's most selective public high schools, in 1968. The duo became known for their cerebral wry lyrics and sharp cultural observations.

For the latest celebrity entertainment, news and lifestyle videos, subscribe to Us Weekly's YouTube Page. I saw them almost three years ago at Baltimore's Pier Six, the ideal setting for a Steely Dan show: on the lawn amongst yuppies, yippies, burnouts, and investment bankers, with every balcony of all the hotels surrounding Pier Six crowded with people.

Becker was careful to distance his music from the "fusion" wave that was taking shape in jazz at the time.

The answer is pretty simple: Steely Dan always favored "feel". They toured briefly in 1995 though it wasn't until 2000 that they released a new album and officially reunited.

A lukewarm Rolling Stone review from the time said it contained "three top-level cuts and scattered moments of inspiration". "I'm not interested in a rock/jazz fusion. We want that ongoing flow, that lightness, that forward rush of jazz". They were as subversive as they were popular, and with songs such as "Peg", "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Hey Nineteen", they were very popular.

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To quote from their song "Black Friday", "When Black Friday comes, I'll collect everything I'm owed, and before my friends find out, I'll be on the road". The 1977 album "Aja" is considered by many critics to be their masterpiece.

In 1981, Steely Dan quietly disbanded.

He came back as a producer and directed albums by China Crisis ('Flaunt the Imperfection, ' 1985), Rickie Lee Jones ('Flying Cowboys, ' 1989) and Michael Franks ('Blue Pacific, ' 1990).

As confirmed in a post on his official website, founding Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker has died.

I freely admit that I went many years where I simply couldn't listen to the band's records anymore. This raised a question: if Steely Dan could hire the best guitarists in the world, why would they need to Becker to play a solo?

Steely Dan were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and released nine studio albums in total, selling more than 40m, with their last being 2003's Everything Must Go.

And Fagen has already paid a glowing tribute to his long-time musical partner.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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