Walter Becker Dead - Steely Dan Guitarist Dies at 67

John Abercrombie

The news was announced on Becker's official website.

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".

The band temporarily disbanded in 1981, during which time Becker focused on producing records rather than making them himself.

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Donald Fagen released a statement in remembrance of his Steely Dan bandmate. From their days as Bard College undergrads to their triumphant return to the charts in the early-2000s, Becker and Fagen proved as unique a combination to music as any of their contemporaries.

The band was in its heyday in the 1970s, although it retained a following.

Steely Dan is one of the most important bands to come out of the 70's.

Keyboardist and lead vocalist Fagen paid tribute to his friend as "hysterically funny" and promised to keep their music alive as long as he could.

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The musician explained that the guitarist had a hard childhood, but "had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people's hidding psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art".

Walter had missed some of Steely Dan's recent concerts due to an undisclosed illness. After a 20-year hiatus following 1980's Gaucho, the duo returned with 2000's Two Against Nature, which won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. The band sold 40m albums in all.

Becker also released solo albums, including 1994's 11 Tracks of Whack, and also produced for other artists such as China Crisis, and Rickie Lee Jones.

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