Walter Becker – The Music, Life and Times
There are few groups that are loved as much as Steely Dan and with the news that founding member Walter Becker has passed away a huge outpouring in online and print media has taken place. In less than ten years the band produced seven albums that seared into the consciousness of a generation. GMI pays tribute to Steely Dan’s Walter Becker by highlighting his impact on the music world since the early 1970s.
Tribute’s To Walter Becker Flood In From Around The Media
First of all, in light of Walter’s importance to music to see just how many of the heavyweight publications from around the world have written about his parting.
Walter Becker of Steely Dan has died – CNN
(CNN) Walter Becker, the guitarist who co-founded the popular 1970s band Steely Dan, has died. He was 67. The announcement was made on Becker’s personal website, which on Sunday displayed two photographs of the musician and a short digital epitaph: “feb. 20 1950 — sept. 03 2017.” The cause of death was not immediately known. Walter Becker of Steely Dan has died – CNN
Steely Dan’s Walter Becker has died, aged 67, bandmate Donald Fagen confirms
W alter Becker, the co-founder of the jazz-rock band Steely Dan , has passed away aged 67. The death was announced on the musician’s website, with a simple message that read only “Walter Becker feb. 20 1950 – sept. 03 2017”. The news has since been confirmed by Steely Dan’s publicist, who released this statement from bandmate Donald Fagen: “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. Steely Dan’s Walter Becker has died, aged 67, bandmate Donald Fagen confirms
Steely Dan’s Walter Becker dead at 67
Steely Dan’s Walter Becker dead at 67 By ANDREA DRESDALE Sep 3, 2017, 12:12 PM ET 0 Shares Star Denise Truscello/Getty Images Walter Becker of Steely Dan performs at The Pearl at The Palms Casino Resort, Aug. 28, 2009 in Las Vegas. 0 Shares Email Walter Becker, guitarist and bass player for Steely Dan , has died. He was 67. Becker had been in ill health recently, and did not perform with his Steely Dan bandmate Donald Fagen at the Classic East and Classic West festivals this summer. According to Billboard, at the beginning of August, Fagen told reporters on a conference call, “Walter’s recovering from a procedure and hopefully he’ll be fine very soon. Steely Dan’s Walter Becker dead at 67
Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, dies aged 67 | Music | The Guardian
Steely Dan Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, dies aged 67 The band were revered for their jazz-tinged music and cynical lyrics, and enjoyed hits including Rikki Don’t Lose That Number Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan celebrating their Grammy win for Two Against Nature in 2001. Photograph: Sam Mircovich/Reuters Steely Dan Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, dies aged 67 The band were revered for their jazz-tinged music and cynical lyrics, and enjoyed hits including Rikki Don’t Lose That Number Monday 4 September 2017 02.53 BST First published 16.43 BST Walter Becker, guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the influential band Steely Dan, died on Sunday aged 67, according to his website , which did not disclose the cause of death. Becker was lead guitarist of the sophisticated, jazz-flavoured band, which he formed with Donald Fagen , the keyboardist and lead vocalist, when the pair were at Bard College in New York. Musicians and celebrities were quick to mourn Becker on social media, with actor rob Lowe tweeting that Becker had “brightened my world”. Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, dies aged 67 | Music | The Guardian
Others have taken the news as a way of focussing in on the music of Walter and the band.
5 notable Steely Dan songs to remember Walter Becker
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As we do here in GMI, the reaction on social media is also a big thing nowadays and it’s been big.
Walter Becker’s Death: Musicians React on Social Media | Billboard
COMMENTS Patti Ouderkirk/WireImage Walter Becker of Steely Dan during Steely Dan in concert at Roseland in 1995 in New York City. Musicians are reacting to the loss of Steely Dan ’s Walter Becker, who died Sunday (Sept. 3) at the age of 67. Artists like Slash, Nile Rodgers, Julian Lennon and more took to social media Sunday morning to pay tribute to the Steely Dan guitarist and co-founder. Becker’s cause of death has not yet been revealed, but the musician had been ill in recent months. Read the social media tributes to Becker below. Walter Becker’s Death: Musicians React on Social Media | Billboard
This is a retrospective interview which is well worth a read.
The 1993 interview when Walter Becker opened up about Steely Dan’s subversive intentions – LA Times
Walter Becker, co-founder with Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, died Sunday at age 67. In this Sunday Calendar interview published in The Times on Aug. 22, 1993, Becker and Fagen talked with Chris Willman at the start of their first reunion tour after 19 years away from the stage as Steely Dan and a little more than a decade after they last recorded together as Steely Dan. They went on to make two more albums together and continued to tour together until illness forced Becker to pull out of a Steely Dan performance at the Classic West festival at Dodger Stadium in July. In this interview from the archives, Becker and Fagen, with biting wit, discuss the dichotomy of the anarchy of their lyrics and the jazz harmonies of their singular sound. FLASH BACK TO THE LATE ’70s , exact date undetermined. The 1993 interview when Walter Becker opened up about Steely Dan’s subversive intentions – LA Times
Other than the news of his death, the LA Times looks at the man and his attitudes to life.
Walter Becker approached everything with irreverence — except Steely Dan’s music – LA Times
Walter Becker wasn’t easily impressed. Addressing a crowd of show-business luminaries in 2001 as his band, Steely Dan, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame , he took a typically sly — and typically subtle — dig at the institution’s inflated self-regard by declaring, “We’re persuaded it’s a great honor to be here tonight.” And when Steely Dan played the Hollywood Bowl with an orchestra last year, the guitarist and bassist fake-apologized for having dressed in a T-shirt and windbreaker: He’d just assumed the group had been booked at a bowling alley, he said in his signature deadpan. But if Becker, who died Sunday at age 67 of an undisclosed cause, approached the musical establishment with an essential irreverence, this legendary perfectionist couldn’t have taken music itself more seriously. Or treated it with more love: Though he and longtime bandmate, singer and keyboardist Donald Fagen are often thought of as cold-blooded smart alecks — the result of lyrics like those in the band’s “ Reelin’ in the Years ,” which mock the boomer nostalgia its title promises — you don’t have to listen to much Steely Dan to hear the attention they lavished on their elaborately conceived jazz-rock tunes. Todd Martens Todd Martens In other words, they didn’t make fun of something like the Rock Hall because of its grandiose ideas about achievement; they made fun of it because it had let in too many dummies who weren’t trying as hard as they were. Walter Becker approached everything with irreverence — except Steely Dan’s music – LA Times
Walter Becker was the cynical one hiding behind the guitar
September 3 at 3:34 PM Follow geoffedgers Steely Dan’s Walter Becker wasn’t a flashy guitarist or great singer. His genius came in his partnership with Donald Fagen, which began at Bard College in the late 1960s, stretched over seven albums from 1972 to 1980 and a pair of surprisingly strong late-period records after he and Fagen regrouped in 1993. And with Becker’s death on Sunday, at 67, we also mourn the end of that partnership, what he and Fagen called a concept more than a rock group: Steely Dan. Over an eight-year stretch, Steely Dan produced a catalogue like no other. 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. Like most partnerships, it’s hard to pin down the division of labor. Walter Becker was the cynical one hiding behind the guitar
The View From Social Media
Social media was full of tributes to Walter and in many cases, the personal importance of the band and his work. Here are just some Twitter comments.
Walter Becker dying is worse than everything. RIP to one of my real legendary heroes.
— Thunder….cat (@Thundercat) September 3, 2017
— Schalke USA #S04 (@schalke_usa) September 4, 2017
Walter Becker from Steely Dan has apparently left us. Gutted. One half of one of the greatest bands ever. pic.twitter.com/SF9Z8IWGzi
— MG (@mofgimmers) September 3, 2017
Walter Performing With Steely Dan
It’s easy to assume that everyone knows the music of Steely Dan. By the same token, it’s a good time to actually remember the sounds and actions and not just see the work. Here is one of the songs that sums up Steely Dan’s sound.
Listen To Walter & Steely Dan on iTunes
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