The Tragic Death Of Steely Dan’s Walter Becker

The Tragic Death Of Steely Dan's Walter Becker


Walter Becker, one half of the legendary duo that formed Steely Dan, has left us, and the world mourns the loss of a musical genius. Becker and Donald Fagen created timeless music that resonated with fans across the globe.


A Quiet Legend Emerges

In a world where fame often overshadows talent, Becker stood as a quiet legend. His guitar skills and songwriting brilliance were the backbone of Steely Dan. The duo’s journey began in a college lounge, where Fagen discovered Becker playing blues guitar, setting the stage for a musical partnership that would shape an era.


Steely Dan’s Unconventional Origin

Not your typical band origin story, Steely Dan’s name wasn’t crafted in a glamorous way. It came from a peculiar source – a sex toy mentioned in William S. Burroughs’ novel, Naked Lunch. Quirky beginnings aside, the duo’s musical journey was far from ordinary.


From Blues to Stardom

Becker and Fagen’s collaboration led them to Los Angeles in 1971, working as staff writers for ABC Records. The transition from behind-the-scenes composers to recording their own music marked the beginning of Steely Dan’s meteoric rise. Their standards for perfection were legendary, earning them a reputation for being meticulous in their craft.


Triumphs and Trials

In 1979, tragedy struck when Becker was hit by a taxi, confining him to a wheelchair. Battling drug addiction during this challenging period, Steely Dan temporarily disbanded. However, Becker’s determination prevailed. He retired to a Hawaiian farm, overcame addiction, and returned to music stronger than ever.


Resilience and Grammy Glory

Becker’s resilience shone through as he and Fagen reunited for the album “Two Against Nature” in 2000, winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Overcoming health issues, including reports of Hepatitis C, Becker triumphed over adversity, proving that true musicians endure, no matter the obstacles.


The Battle with Aggressive Cancer

In a sudden turn of events, Becker faced a formidable adversary – an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. His widow, Delia, revealed the heartbreaking details of his swift decline. The overwhelming toxicity from chemotherapy treatments, coupled with the cancer’s aggressiveness, led to Becker’s passing on September 3, 2017, at the age of 67.


 Legacy Beyond the Charts

With age, Becker gained perspective, acknowledging Steely Dan’s unique place in the music world. He humorously noted that their music was considered the “best possible Muzak” for supermarkets, illustrating the widespread appeal and versatility of their sound.

In saying our goodbyes to Walter Becker, we remember not just the artist but the resilience, creativity, and the indomitable spirit that shaped the musical legacy of Steely Dan. The world may have lost a legend, but the echoes of his music will continue to resonate for generations to come.