Stars pay tribute to late Steely Dan cofounder Walter Becker

Steely Dan co-founder and guitarist Walter Becker dead at 67

He was a guitarist, a bassist and the co-founder of Steely Dan, Walter Becker passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 67.

Becker co-founded the rock band Steely Dan in 1972 along with the lead vocalist and keyboardist Donald Fagen when they studied at the Bard College in NY.

Becker formed one half of the band's initial duo, performing lead guitar by the side of Donald Fagen, Steely Dan's keyboardist and lead vocalist.

His website made the announcement Sunday along with two photographs of the musician and a short digital epitaph: "Feb. 20, 1950 - September 03, 2017".

Originally, both he and his partner Walter Becker meant to be pulling the strings from behind the curtains-they'd be the team writing the songs and divining the direction the band would head, while a pretty face would sing their pretty melodies.

"He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter", wrote Fagen in tribute.

"He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically amusing", Fagen wrote in a tribute posted at Rolling Stone.

While Steely Dan's supporting lineup changed over the years (1975's Katy Lied features a team of studio musicians that included Toto's Jeff Porcaro, guitarist Hugh McCracken, and the Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald, for example), Becker and Fagen were the band's constants throughout the 1970s.

The band dissolved in 1981 and reunited in the 1990s. Winning the Grammy for album of the year, Becker and Fagen proved they were still at the top of their game lyrically and musically. Becker played guitar, bass and co-wrote songs along with Fagen.

And then there's all the other Steely Dan tracks Becker was a mastermind in helping to construct - "Black Friday", "Kid Charlemagne", "Aja", "Gaucho", "Time Out of Mind", "Gaslighting Abbie", the list goes on. "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.

Donald Fagen fronted Steely Dan but that was a matter of circumstance. He faced legal action after his girlfriend died of a drug overdose in his apartment in NY, where soon afterward he was hit by a taxi and injured.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Thanks for all the music over so many years. They continued to tour until Becker took time off for an undisclosed illness in July.

In 2008, Becker went out on his second solo album, Circus Money, in which he expressed his love for reggae.

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