Steely Dan co-founder dies aged 67

Tributes have been paid to Steely Dan's Walter Becker, who died on Sunday (September 3) aged 67.

Ending his tribute, Fagan said, "I intend to keep the music we created together as long as I can". No details have been given as of his cause of death yet, but we assume it was due to natural causes.

Becker and Fagen met at Bard College in NY and immediately found they bonded over their love of similar music and humor.

First as a bassist then guitarist, Walter Becker said that he had grown up listening to great jazz musicians, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins.

"He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically amusing", Fagen wrote in a tribute posted at Rolling Stone. His passing was confirmed by a post on his personal website.

Throughout the decade, the two continued to tour and work on new material, resulting in their first studio album in two decades, 2000's Two Against Nature, which nabbed four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Steely Dan performed at the 2015 Coachella music festival.

Although rejecting the label of "jazz fusion" for Steely Dan, Walter Becker acknowledged the influence of jazz in the sound of the group. Cameron Crowe likened the pair to "delinquents taking an oral exam in detention" in a lengthy 1977 profile for Rolling Stone, and within the article the duo verbally volley in a fashion that suggests they didn't have much time for either the journalist or the audience if they didn't happen to get their shared jokes.

Like no other band, Steely Dan proved that jazz and rock could peacefully coexist. "It seemed like the more complex the music we were playing, the less able we were to guarantee its consistency", Becker recalled in a 1996 interview with the Toronto Star. During the 1970s the band became a commercial success. Becker was just twenty-two at the time, but-and I say this lovingly, admiringly-the band's early hits are suffused with midlife yearning. Co-written by Becker and Fagen, "Aja" is Steely Dan's version of a rock opera, a track enticing listeners to follow the song's entire journey.

Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 but never reached number one on the United States charts, reaching a height of number four with the 1974 song "Rikki Don't Lose that Number". "Chinese music under banyan trees / Here at the dude ranch above the sea", Fagen sings, slight echoes of such music resounding through the song.

Becker released two solo albums, his last one "Circus Money" came out in 2008.

  • Santos West