Walter Becker

Happy Birthday

Walter Carl Becker
February 20, 1950
Queens, New York

Walter Becker is remembered as a genius arranger, producer, musician and songwriter for the band Steely Dan. 

Born and raised in Queens, NY, Becker played the guitar and saxophone during High School. There is an inordinate amount of talented geniuses born in Queens. 

Donald Fagen overheard Becker playing guitar at a campus café when they were both students at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. In an interview many years later, Fagen said, "I hear this guy practicing, and it sounded very professional and contemporary. It sounded like, you know, like a black person, really." They formed the band Leather Canary, which included fellow student Chevy Chase on drums. At the time, Chase called the group "a bad jazz band."

Becker and Fagen moved to Brooklyn and worked as a songwriting duo. They toured with Jay Black and the Americans, and wrote songs for a local puppet show, "Hans and Claudio". 
In 1971, Becker and Fagen moved to Los Angeles and formed Steely Dan with guitarists Denny Dias and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, drummer Jim Hodder, and vocalist David Palmer. Fagen played keyboards and sang, while Becker played bass guitar. Steely Dan spent the next three years touring and recording before swearing off touring in 1974, confining themselves to the studio with personnel that changed for every album. In addition to co-writing all of the band's material, Becker played guitar and bass guitar and sang background vocals.

Pretzel Logic (1974) was the first Steely Dan album to feature Becker on guitar. "Once I met (session musician) Chuck Rainey", he explained, "I felt there really was no need for me to be bringing my bass guitar to the studio anymore". Apparently Becker smashed his Bass and used it as firewood to heat Rainey's tea. 

Every album was pure genius. "Countdown to Ecstasy", "Cant Buy a Thrill", "Katy Lied", "The Royal Scam", "Aja" and "Gaucho". Classic songs: "Do It Again", "Reelin in the Years", "My Old School", "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", "Black Friday", "Bad Sneakers", "Haitian Divorce", "Peg", "Deacon Blues", "Black Cow" and too many more to list. Becker and Fagen suspended their partnership in June 1981.

The duo reformed in 1993 and started to tour again. Their first tour in 19 years. They continued to tour and record. Walter died on September 3, 2017. 

Remembering Walter on his birthday! Thank You for the music! We Love and Miss You!

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