Steely Dan’s Walter Becker: 1950-2017
UPDATE – 09/03/2017 1:00 PM EST: Donald Fagen has released the following statement on the death of Walter Becker:
“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.
Walter had a very rough childhood — I’ll 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 people’s hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art. He used to write letters (never meant to be sent) in my wife Libby’s singular voice that made the three of us collapse with laughter.
His 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.
I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.”
Sad news to report this morning as Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker has died. He was 67.
So far, a cause of death has yet to be announced. The first confirmation of Becker’s passing came via his official website, which simply read, “Walter Becker: Feb. 20 1950 – Sept. 03 2017.”
Steely Dan was booked for the Classic East and Classic West concerts this summer, however, Becker missed both performances. In a press conference call, Billboard reported that Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen said of Becker’s health, “Walter’s recovering from a procedure and hopefully he’ll be fine very soon.” No additional details were offered beyond that statement.
We will update this story as it develops.
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.