ONE of the co-founders of Steely Dan Walter Becker has died at the age of 67. Their 1972 debut, Can't Buy a Thrill, had hit singles in "Do It Again" and "Reelin' in the Years"; "Rikki Don't Lose That Number", Steely Dan's biggest hit, came with 1974's Pretzel Logic, their third outing.
"He was cynical about human nature, including himself, and incredibly amusing", said Sunday Donald Fagen, in a tribute to Walter Becker.
The band's music was a unique blend of rock, jazz, soul and pop. Becker at first was the bassist and then switched to guitar.
In July he missed Steely Dan's Classic East and Classic West festival gigs in NY and Los Angeles due to an unspecified illness. Once standoffish with press, Steely Dan became reliably gracious interview subjects, a move that when paired with their cornball stage patter, helped warm a once notoriously chilly band. If you're a Steely Dan fan you have to check out the Aja documentary. insane.
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"What underlies Steely Dan's music - and may, with this album, be showing its limitations - is its extreme intellectual self-consciousness, both in music and lyrics", wrote critic Michael Duffy in Rolling Stone in 1977 of the album.
Becker joined up with Donald Fagen to form Steely Dan in the 70s and served as its two core members throughout the various lineup changes. In a press conference call, Billboard reported that Steely Dan's Donald Fagen said of Becker's health, "Walter's recovering from a procedure and hopefully he'll be fine very soon".
Despite his success as a musician, Walter had a turbulent childhood, but he had the capacity for "creative mimicry", while at the same time having the talent to tap into a person's psychology to create "bubbly, incisive art".
His death was announced on his official website, which gave no other details. It wasn't until 2000 that the duo would release their comeback album, Two Against Nature, which won four Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year.
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