Steely Dan co-founder and guitarist Walter Becker dead at 67

Walter Becker with his creative partner Donald Fagen

Becker made an acquaintance with his future partner Fagen as a student at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, while performing at a local club. At the dawn of the '70s, such prefabricated tunes were falling out of fashion, swept aside by the idiosyncratic, individualistic pop that surfaced in the wake of rock & roll.

In fact, nearly everything about Steely Dan was a paradox.

Steely Dan's lyrics were far from straightforward, depicting cryptic situations and sketching characters like addicts, suicidal fugitives and dirty old men.

Ryan Adams tweeted: "Walter Becker, you changed my life with music".

During the band's initial run from 1972 to 1981, Steely Dan released six Top 20 albums and scored three Top 10 singles.

Steely Dan was hugely popular in the 1970s, when they were known for their complex musical structures and harmonies. What other commercial band would build out an eight-minute track complete with Asian themes and sentiments ("Aja") and have jazz powerhouse Wayne Shorter serve as lead soloist (on saxophone!) on it over a lead guitarist?

The death of Walter Becker has fans recalling his many contributions to the music world. I never realized until that moment that the ABB's music had made an impact on him- as it had me- as had Steely Dan's. Becker developed a fluid style, one based on the blues but as fleet as hard bop.

And it's not just fellow musicians who are mourning the great loss.

Grammy scripter and erstwhile Rolling Stone writer David Wild said Becker "opened up my mind musically and made being a wiseass a courageous act of Pretzel Logic". Fagen and Becker had a reputation for being cerebral, meticulous, and high-minded. Alternately sharp and eloquent, his solos suit the attractive, cynical spirit of Steely Dan.

After reuniting in the early '90s, Steely Dan released two more albums of original material: Two Against Nature (2000) and Everything Must Go (2003).

As Steely Dan became a dependable live attraction, their public persona gradually shifted from terminal collegiates to genial professors.

Sadly, Becker's death was confirmed on his personal website.

The answer is pretty simple: Steely Dan always favored "feel". Becker played bass and guitar for the jazz-flavored band and the duo received widespread acclaim and commercial success even when the band toured frequently into 2017, according to the Guardian. By touring so often, they proved that music that supposed was exclusively a studio creation could thrive onstage.

Mourning Becker's death was a curious thing to watch, because Steely Dan was always the antithesis of 1960s-utopian love-ins, snide and cynical and world tired, void of romance.

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