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[ Walter Becker
died Sunday, September 3, 2017. He was 67. ]
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
-- inducted 2001
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, erstwhile students at Bard College, discover common interests in jazz, blues, popular music and contemporary literature, particularly so-called Black Humor. They begin collaborating on songs which they perform in various pickup bands.
1969: DF & WB attempt to peddle their songs door to door in the famous Brill Building, home to many if not most of the schlock music publishers of the day. They are eventually signed to a publishing deal by a small company owned by 60's group
Jay and the Americans, who are enjoying a brief revival of their popularity due to their hit remake
of the Drifters' "This Magic Moment."
1970: DF & WB join the
Jay and the Americans' touring band
1971: On the recommendation of staff producer Gary Katz, the partners are signed as staff songwriters by Jay Lasker, president of ABC/Dunhill Records in Los Angeles. They move to Los Angeles where they are given a small office-with-piano in which to grind out the hits. A desk drawer in the office still contains the brown bag lunches of the previous song-writing team to use the office. The team interprets this touching detail as a symbol of the impermanence of success in the pop music scene. They proceed to write a series of classic but unrecordable cheesy pop songs, while secretly planning to assemble their own band and record their own album.
1972: After rehearsing after hours in the unfinished new wing of ABC Records office, the intrepid little band hits the studio and records their first album. The album, entitled "Can't Buy A Thrill," is released under the name Steely Dan, which has been unceremoniously lifted from William Burroughs' novel, "Naked Lunch." The charter members are: Denny Dias (Guitar), Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (guitar), Jim Hodder (drums) and David Palmer (vocals).
1973: The band in various configurations tours the U.S. and Britain. Two more albums are released: "Countdown To Ecstasy" and "Pretzel Logic." Donald is now singing all the lead vocals and Walter has begun playing guitar leads. The final touring configuration includes
Michael McDonald (vocals and piano), Jeff Porcaro (drums) and Royce Jones (percussion and vocals).
1975: Becker and Fagen disband the original group and begin to record entirely with various session players. The results include a series of acclaimed albums including: "Katy Lied," "The Royal Scam," "Aja" and "Gaucho."
1980: Becker and Fagen go their separate ways.
Donald Fagen records his first solo album, "The Nightfly," which is a huge critical and
commercial success. Walter Becker moves to Hawaii and becomes a gentleman avocado rancher and self-styled critic of the contemporary scene.
THE EIGHTIES: DF pens tunes for artists including
Manhattan Transfer, Jennifer Warnes and
YellowJackets. He co-produces the soundtrack album for Bob Telson's musical "The Gospel At Colonus," and composes the score for the film, "Bright Lights, Big City." He also writes a column for Premiere Magazine. Becker produces albums for China Crisis, Rickie Lee Jones, and various jazz artists, including Bob Sheppard, John Beasley, Jeff Beale, Andy Laverne, Marty Krystall, The Lost Tribe, Dave Kikoski, and LeeAnn Ledgerwood.
1991-1992: Fagen and producer Libby Titus ("The Mistress of Rock 'n' Soul") develop the New York Rock and Soul Revue, which culminates in the recording, "NYR&S Live at the Beacon Theatre." Sessions begin for Fagen's second solo album, "Kamakiriad," with Becker producing. Becker also joins the revue for their Summer '92 Tour.
1993: As "Kamakiriad" sales climb towards platinum and beyond, DF and WB hit the road with The All New Steely Dan Orchestra '93.
WB begins work on "11 Tracks of Whack" with DF producing. A boxed set entitled "Citizen Steely Dan" is due out for Christmas.
1994: In May the group tours Japan. "11 Tracks of Whack" is released following the successful summer tour by the Citizen Steely Dan Orchestra '94.
1995: "Alive in America," an album of live performances from 93-94 is released. DF and WB begin writing for a new album.
1996: The Art Crimes Orchestra tours the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
1997-2000: Work on Steely Dan's first studio album in 20 years proceeds apace through 1999.
2000-2002: "Two Against Nature" is released on February 29, 2000 and debuts at #6 on Billboard's Top 200. Donald and Walter receive
ASCAP's Founder's Award in May of 2000. Summer sees the Steely Dan 2K World Tour of Japan, North America, and Europe. In February 2001, "Two Against Nature" wins four Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year. Becker and Fagen are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March of 2001. In May 2001, Becker and Fagen receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees from The Berklee College of Music. Recording for a new album begins in in the fall of 2001.
2003: "Everything Must Go" is released in June of 2003, and the "Everything Must Go" Tour is announced.
Hit songs include --
- Rikki Don't Lose That Number
- Do It Again
- Hey Nineteen
- Reeling In The Years
- Time Out of Mind
- Deacon Blues
- Cousin Dupree
- Black Friday
- Pretzel Logic
- The Fez
- Show Biz Kids
- My Old School
- Kid Charlemagne
Genre: Rock 1
.Album Rock. / AlbumRock
.Jazz-Rock. / JazzRock
.Pop/Rock. / PopRock
.Soft Rock. / SoftRock
.Contemporary Pop/Rock. / ContemporaryPopRock
.Classic Rock. / ClassicRock
x70s, x80s, x90s, x00s, x10s, x20s
Donald Fagen --
Born: ..in New Jersey
Born: ..in Passaic
Born: Jan 10, 1948
Walter Becker --
Born: ..in New York
Born: ..in New York
Born: ..in Queens
Born: Feb 20, 1950
Died: Sep 3, 2017
Formed: ..in California / formed nCalifornia
Formed: ..in Los Angeles / formed LosAngelesCA
Formed: in 1972
Based: ..in US