Steely Dan’s Walter Becker dead aged 67: Tributes paid to legendary rocker
Steely Dan guitarist and co-founder Walter Becker has died.
Although no official cause of death has been given, according to reports in the US he had been âvery ill and underwent surgery last monthâ.
Becker, along with co-member Donald Fagen, wrote some huge hits in the 70’s, including “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number,” “Deacon Blues,” “Kid Charlemagne,” “Hey Nineteen,” and ‘My Old School.”
The jazz-rock group broke up in 1981 but reunited in the 90’s and produced several albums, including Two Against Nature, which bagged four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.
New-York born Becker and Fagen were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
His partner Donald Fagan released a statement which read: “Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We started writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room in the lobby of Ward Manor, a mouldering old mansion on the Hudson River that the college used as a dorm.
“We liked a lot of the same things: jazz (from the twenties through the mid-sixties), W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and Robert Altman films come to mind. Also soul music and Chicago blues.
“Walter had a very rough childhood â Iâll spare you the details. Luckily, he was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter.
“He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny. Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading peopleâs hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art. He used to write letters (never meant to be sent) in my wife Libbyâs singular voice that made the three of us collapse with laughter.
Hinting at Beckerâs past battle with drug addiction, he added: âHis habits got the best of him by the end of the seventies, and we lost touch for a while. “In the eighties, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul.
Review with Libby, we hooked up again, revived the Steely Dan concept and developed another terrific band.
âI intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.â
According to Rolling Stone, after his recent surgery, Becker’s doctor had advised him not to leave his Malibu home during his post-operative period.
Steely Dan – named after a sex toy in the book Naked Lunch by William Burroughs – released its first album Can’t Buy a Thrill in 1972.
Becker also had a career as a solo artist, releasing two albums including Circus Money in 2008.