Steely Dan Co-Founder Walter Becker: Countdown to Ecstacy

Walter Becker passed away Sunday at the age of 67. Becker co-founded Steely Dan in 1972 along with college friend Donald Fagen. Becker played guitar, bass and co-wrote songs along with Fagen.

Becker and Fagen met at Bard College in New York and immediately found they bonded over their love of similar music and humor. They quickly went through a couple of bands. One of their bands, Leather Canary, was notable for having future Saturday Night Live cast member Chevy Chase as their drummer.

Becker initially started out primarily playing bass with Steely Dan up until their third album, Pretzel Logic. At that point the band felt they found the right bass sound so Becker switched over to guitar. Becker and Fagen have a very strong reputation for being absolutely meticulous in crafting the sound of Steely Dan, especially in the studio.

With Steely Dan, Becker was a key part of crafting some of the most recognizable radio staples such as “Reelin’ In the Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “FM,” “Peg” and many more.

Steely Dan is absolutely one of those bands that once you start listing songs you realize you know a lot more of their music than you thought you did. You probably even know the words to many of them after hearing them on the radio for so long. One amazing thing about their body of work is that almost all of it was done in under ten years. The band formed in 1972 and officially disbanded in 1981. They toured briefly in 1995 though it wasn’t until 2000 that they released a new album and officially reunited. That 2000 album, Two Against Nature, won four Grammy Awards included Album Of The Year.

Walter Becker has left an incredible body of music behind and will be sorely missed.