Walter Becker was an American songwriter and guitarist, and in partnership with Donald Fagen, formed Steely Dan in 1971. While Fagen played keyboards and sang lead vocals, Becker played bass guitar and sang background vocals in addition to co-writing (with Fagen) all of Steely Dan's compositions. Later, during the recording of Pretzel Logic, Becker picked up the guitar and left the bass playing to Chuck Rainey. The band toured for several years initially but soon decided to work only in the studio changing musicians for each album. The two collaborators gained a reputation as studio perfectionists known for making copious takes - sometimes as many as forty of each track. This fastidious persistence and steadfastness resulted in nine meticulous albums.
After several personal setbacks for Becker, he and Fagen shelved their partnership in 1981. Soon after, he moved with his family to Hawaii, focused on health and sobriety and set about producing a number of albums for various artists including Michael Franks, Fra Lippo Lippi and Ricki Lee Jones on her 'Flying Cowboys' album (Gold by the RIAA in 1997).
Becker and Fegan reunited in 1986 to collaborate on several projects and in 1993 reconstituted Steely Dan and remained active and touring until Becker's death in September of 2017.
In 2000 Becker and Fagen released four time Grammy award winning, Two Against Nature. It also won Album of the Year and was their first album collaboration in twenty years. A year later they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received honorary doctoral degrees from Berklee College of Music. Becker would also be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Becker would release two solo albums over his career, '11 Tracks of Whack' in 1994 and fourteen years later, 'Circus Money'.
Steely Dan Studio Albums
- Can't Buy a Thrill (1972)
- Countdown to Ecstasy (1973)
- Pretzel Logic (1974)
- Katy Lied (1975)
- The Royal Scam (1976)
- Aja (1977)
- Gaucho (1980)
- Two Against Nature (2000)
- Everything Must Go (2003)