Steely Dan’s main man is dead, at 67

Steely Dan’s main man is dead, at 67


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2017

The death has been announced of Walter Becker, guitarist and co-founder of the rock group Steely Dan.

Hi co-founder Donald Fagen pays tribute here.



  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Farewell to a legend. Thank you for all the incredible albums.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Still one of the great groups of the past–still playing…RIP good man.

  • andrey boreyko says:

    rip no more great music of steely dan

  • Steve P says:

    So sad. I’m going to go on a serious Steely Dan jag tomorrow.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    A lot of fine work that has endured when others have not.

    • rg says:

      Agreed. Even with their most-played songs, if I give them enough rest (a month or so), they sound as great and fresh as ever.

  • Dave says:

    When I think of Steely Dan, I think of those great songs and fantastic studio musicians that appeared on the albums.

  • rg says:

    One good way to remember Walter Becker is to listen to Steely Dan’s song “Aja”, possibly their very best track and, in my view, one of the highest peaks of popular music during the rock era. Of course Becker co-wrote the song, but notably he plays an elegant guitar solo in the middle, in between excellent solos by Denny Dias, after which an outstanding solo is played by Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone.

    • Dave says:

      You missed one musician who soloed on ‘Aja.’ Drummer Steve Gadd played what many consider one of the greatest rock drum parts ever recorded.

      • Theodore McGuiver says:

        Q: How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb?
        A: A hundred. One to change it and the rest to discuss how Steve Gadd would have done it.

  • rg says:

    You guys are right about Steve Gadd. I didn’t forget him, just focused on the long instrumental middle section featuring Dias, Becker, Dias again, and then Shorter. But Gadd’s playing throughout is great, and his solo in the coda is for the ages.