Walter Becker, Steely Dan Guitarist, Dies at 67

Becker was one of the founders of the classic rock band

Last Updated: September 3, 2017 @ 8:08 AM

Walter Becker, co-founding guitarist of the jazz rock band Steely Dan, died Sunday at age 67. The death, confirmed by a post on his official website, did not indicate a cause.

Steely Dan, which was started in 1972 by Becker and keyboardist Donald Fagen, became known worldwide for combining jazz and rock in songs like “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “Dirty Work,” and “Do It Again.”

Becker, a native of Queens, New York, met Fagen while studying at Bard College. Together, they composed and recorded the soundtrack for Richard Pryor’s 1971 film “You Gotta Walk It Like You Talk It Or You’ll Lose That Beat” and worked as backing musicians for Jay and the Americans.

A year later, the duo formed Steely Dan and released their debut album, “Can’t Buy A Thrill.”

The band released seven albums during its initial run with an ever-changing group of musicians playing alongside Becker and Fagan. The group found immediate success with several hit singles off of “Can’t Buy A Thrill,” but hit a peak in 1977 with “Aja,” an album that became their first platinum hit and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard charts.

But personal issues and the stress of touring took its toll on the band, and the group broke up in 1981.

In 1993, Fagen and Becker reunited, releasing two more Steely Dan albums in 2000 and 2003 and touring until Becker’s death. The band’s 2000 album, “Two Against Nature,” received the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Becker had missed Steely Dan’s tour dates in July due to an undisclosed ailment which required medical procedures.

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