Discussion:
Walter Becker, Steely Dan guitarist, age 67
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Robert Catt
2017-09-03 21:01:06 UTC
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Walter Becker, the guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the rock duo Steely
Dan, one of the most successful and adventurous groups of the 1970s and
early ‘80s, died on Sunday. He was 67. His death was announced on his
official website, which gave no other details. He lived in Maui, Hawaii.

Becker had missed performances in Los Angeles and New York earlier this
year. Donald Fagen, the band’s other co-founder and lead singer, told
Billboard last month that Becker had been “recovering from a procedure, and
hopefully he’ll be fine very soon.” He gave no other details.

Steely Dan had little use for rock’s excesses, creating instead a
sophisticated, jazz-inflected sound with tricky harmonies. Becker was the
primary arranger. Starting in 1972, after Becker and Fagen had met at Bard
College, the group produced hit singles like “Do It Again,” ‘Reelin’ In the
Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Deacon Blues,” as well as a raft
of critically lauded albums, including “Pretzel Logic,” “The Royal Scam,”
“Aja” and “Gaucho,” the latter two widely regarded as their most
artistically accomplished.

The typically calm tempos of Steely Dan’s music held unlikely musical twists
and inventive lyrics on an eclectic range of topics, among them stock-market
crashes, Puerto Rican immigration, junkies, cheating lovers, a space alien
and a suicidal couch potato. Becker and Fagen went their own ways for much
of the 1980s, producing solo albums. They reunited in 2000 with Two Against
Nature, which earned a Grammy Award for album of the year. In recent years,
Becker and Fagen have toured extensively with a large band and backup
singers. Last fall they had an extended run at the Beacon Theater in New
York, in which each evening was devoted to the songs from a single Steely
Dan album.

In a statement released on Sunday, Fagen said: “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. “We liked a lot of the
same things: jazz (from the ‘20s through the mid-‘60s), W.C. Fields, the
Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and
Robert Altman films come to mind. Also soul music and Chicago blues.” He
added, “I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I
can with the Steely Dan band.”

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/2017/09/03/walter-becker-guitarist-for-steely-dan-dead-at-67.html
u***@aol.com
2017-09-04 00:52:50 UTC
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Post by Robert Catt
Walter Becker, the guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the rock duo Steely
Dan, one of the most successful and adventurous groups of the 1970s and
early ‘80s, died on Sunday. He was 67. His death was announced on his
official website, which gave no other details. He lived in Maui, Hawaii.
Becker had missed performances in Los Angeles and New York earlier this
year. Donald Fagen, the band’s other co-founder and lead singer, told
Billboard last month that Becker had been “recovering from a procedure, and
hopefully he’ll be fine very soon.” He gave no other details.
Steely Dan had little use for rock’s excesses, creating instead a
sophisticated, jazz-inflected sound with tricky harmonies. Becker was the
primary arranger. Starting in 1972, after Becker and Fagen had met at Bard
College, the group produced hit singles like “Do It Again,” ‘Reelin’ In the
Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Deacon Blues,” as well as a raft
of critically lauded albums, including “Pretzel Logic,” “The Royal Scam,”
“Aja” and “Gaucho,” the latter two widely regarded as their most
artistically accomplished.
The typically calm tempos of Steely Dan’s music held unlikely musical twists
and inventive lyrics on an eclectic range of topics, among them stock-market
crashes, Puerto Rican immigration, junkies, cheating lovers, a space alien
and a suicidal couch potato. Becker and Fagen went their own ways for much
of the 1980s, producing solo albums. They reunited in 2000 with Two Against
Nature, which earned a Grammy Award for album of the year. In recent years,
Becker and Fagen have toured extensively with a large band and backup
singers. Last fall they had an extended run at the Beacon Theater in New
York, in which each evening was devoted to the songs from a single Steely
Dan album.
In a statement released on Sunday, Fagen said: “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. “We liked a lot of the
same things: jazz (from the ‘20s through the mid-‘60s), W.C. Fields, the
Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and
Robert Altman films come to mind. Also soul music and Chicago blues.” He
added, “I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I
can with the Steely Dan band.”
https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/2017/09/03/walter-becker-guitarist-for-steely-dan-dead-at-67.html
Describing Becker as "Steely Dan guitarist" is like describing Paul Simon as "Simon and Garfunkel guitarist"
David Carson
2017-09-04 01:58:01 UTC
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Describing Becker as "Steely Dan guitarist" is like describing Paul Simon as "Simon and Garfunkel guitarist"
So was the other guy in Steely Dan the Art Garfunkel of the duo? The
Andrew Ridgeley? The John Oates?
Michael OConnor
2017-09-04 02:12:30 UTC
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Post by David Carson
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Describing Becker as "Steely Dan guitarist" is like describing Paul Simon as "Simon and Garfunkel guitarist"
So was the other guy in Steely Dan the Art Garfunkel of the duo? The
Andrew Ridgeley? The John Oates?
I think what he means is that Steely Dan was for the most part a studio band which was often comprised of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker along with the finest musicians of the era. On any given song, Walter Becker might be playing guitar alongside Lee Ritenour or Denny Dias or Skunk Baxter or Mark Knopfler. Becker was a good guitarist, but he was very often surrounded by guitarists who were much better than him. On Steely Dan's strongest guitar songs, like "King of the World" and the solo at the end of "Bodishattva", that was Skunk Baxter, not Walter Becker.
c***@aol.com
2017-09-04 02:13:54 UTC
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I always thought Steely Dan was a single individual
RH Draney
2017-09-04 03:11:17 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
I always thought Steely Dan was a single individual
And I'll bet you thought Lobo was a group....r
c***@aol.com
2017-09-04 03:28:07 UTC
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Never heard of Lobo.
MJ Emigh
2017-09-04 03:33:18 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
I always thought Steely Dan was a single individual
It was the name of a character in "Naked Lunch" by William Burroughs. Not a human character. A rubber character.
u***@aol.com
2017-09-04 02:22:28 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
Post by David Carson
Post by u***@aol.com
Describing Becker as "Steely Dan guitarist" is like describing Paul Simon as "Simon and Garfunkel guitarist"
So was the other guy in Steely Dan the Art Garfunkel of the duo? The
Andrew Ridgeley? The John Oates?
I think what he means is that Steely Dan was for the most part a studio band which was often comprised of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker along with the finest musicians of the era. On any given song, Walter Becker might be playing guitar alongside Lee Ritenour or Denny Dias or Skunk Baxter or Mark Knopfler. Becker was a good guitarist, but he was very often surrounded by guitarists who were much better than him. On Steely Dan's strongest guitar songs, like "King of the World" and the solo at the end of "Bodishattva", that was Skunk Baxter, not Walter Becker.
Well, that and the fact that he co-wrote 95% of the song catalog. And produced a lot as well.
David Carson
2017-09-04 02:44:36 UTC
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Post by u***@aol.com
Post by Michael OConnor
Post by David Carson
Post by u***@aol.com
Describing Becker as "Steely Dan guitarist" is like describing Paul Simon as "Simon and Garfunkel guitarist"
So was the other guy in Steely Dan the Art Garfunkel of the duo? The
Andrew Ridgeley? The John Oates?
I think what he means is that Steely Dan was for the most part a studio band which was often comprised of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker along with the finest musicians of the era. On any given song, Walter Becker might be playing guitar alongside Lee Ritenour or Denny Dias or Skunk Baxter or Mark Knopfler. Becker was a good guitarist, but he was very often surrounded by guitarists who were much better than him. On Steely Dan's strongest guitar songs, like "King of the World" and the solo at the end of "Bodishattva", that was Skunk Baxter, not Walter Becker.
Well, that and the fact that he co-wrote 95% of the song catalog. And produced a lot as well.
And the other guy?
Michael OConnor
2017-09-04 02:58:03 UTC
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Post by David Carson
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Well, that and the fact that he co-wrote 95% of the song catalog. And produced a lot as well.
And the other guy?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Fagen
David Carson
2017-09-04 03:31:21 UTC
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On Sun, 3 Sep 2017 19:58:03 -0700 (PDT), Michael OConnor
Post by Michael OConnor
Post by David Carson
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Well, that and the fact that he co-wrote 95% of the song catalog. And produced a lot as well.
And the other guy?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Fagen
Yes, Wikipedia, but I was asking *you guys* whether *you think* Becker &
Fagen's relative importance to to duo was lopsided in Becker's favor,
which is how the Simon & Garfunkel comparison made it seem to me. Both
your comments and the Ungraceful Biped's comments have emphasized how
important Becker was, but that doesn't tell me anything; perhaps Fagen's
were equally profound, but for different reasons. The Wikipedia article is
just a data dump that doesn't address my question in the slightest.

David Carson
--
Dead or Alive Data Base
http://www.doadb.com
Michael OConnor
2017-09-04 04:05:35 UTC
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Post by David Carson
Post by Michael OConnor
Post by David Carson
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Well, that and the fact that he co-wrote 95% of the song catalog. And produced a lot as well.
And the other guy?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Fagen
Yes, Wikipedia, but I was asking *you guys* whether *you think* Becker &
Fagen's relative importance to to duo was lopsided in Becker's favor,
which is how the Simon & Garfunkel comparison made it seem to me. Both
your comments and the Ungraceful Biped's comments have emphasized how
important Becker was, but that doesn't tell me anything; perhaps Fagen's
were equally profound, but for different reasons. The Wikipedia article is
just a data dump that doesn't address my question in the slightest.
I think it was maybe 60-40 advantage Fagen, since Fagen sang lead vocals on virtually every song, and his keyboards gave the band it's signature sound. But they co-wrote the songs and music, and both spent a gazillion hours in the studio refining and re-engineering to get their sound just right. I just don't see Donald Fagen touring and doing their songs without Becker and calling it Steely Dan.
MJ Emigh
2017-09-04 03:28:49 UTC
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Post by David Carson
So was the other guy in Steely Dan the Art Garfunkel of the duo? The
Andrew Ridgeley? The John Oates?
I'd say, more of the Oliver Hardy.
Robert Catt
2017-09-04 11:51:03 UTC
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Post by u***@aol.com
Describing Becker as "Steely Dan guitarist" is like describing Paul Simon
as "Simon and Garfunkel guitarist"
I simply used the info from the Toronto Star's headline, "Walter Becker,
guitarist for Steely Dan, dead at 67". OK?
c***@aol.com
2017-09-04 12:51:27 UTC
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Now people are complaining about a perfectly accurate headline. What's next?
Terry del Fuego
2017-09-04 22:22:48 UTC
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On Mon, 4 Sep 2017 05:51:27 -0700 (PDT), Terry "Pig-Fucker" Ellsworth,
Post by c***@aol.com
Now people are complaining about a perfectly accurate headline. What's next?
Probably you injecting a bunch of idiotic horseshit that translates to
"I'm largely ignorant of what I constantly criticize."
Robert Catt
2017-09-05 14:25:19 UTC
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"Terry del Fuego" wrote in message news:***@4ax.com...

On Mon, 4 Sep 2017 05:51:27 -0700 (PDT), Terry "Pig-Fucker" Ellsworth,
Post by c***@aol.com
Now people are complaining about a perfectly accurate headline. What's next?
Probably you injecting a bunch of idiotic horseshit that translates to
"I'm largely ignorant of what I constantly criticize."

That's how I felt about it his stupid post too, Terry.
c***@aol.com
2017-09-05 14:37:39 UTC
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More nobodies.
u***@aol.com
2017-09-05 21:05:09 UTC
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I don't think anyone thought you wrote the words I mentioned. I'm sorry you took it personally.

I was simply pointing out that, given an obit headline that read, for Mad Lib purposes, as "Walter Becker, _____________ for Steely Dan", there were probably at least a half dozen job titles other than "guitarist" which would have been more informative and reflective of his true worth and position in Steely Dan.
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