Becker collected instruments with an eye toward beauty and an ear toward sound.
He played both bass and guitar with the band, teaming with Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen and various expert session players to create supple, striking, meticulously crafted hits, most of them recorded at Village Recorder a few miles west, including “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Peg,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and dozens more.
Those entering the Julien’s Auctions showroom in Beverly Hills on a recent weekday could be forgiven for mistaking the space for a high-end music shop. Vast walls held hundreds of guitars in rows. Dozens of display cases were packed with a wild array of effects pedals, distortion boxes and one-of-a-kind tone generators. Basses and banjos. Amps and monitors. Drums and keyboards.
A Cardinal Magpie electric guitar with a “spalted sycamore” top and matching pick-up covers. Another oblong Cardinal with a maple top. A 1959 Gretsch Tennessean hollow-body guitar signed by Nashville legend Chet Atkins. Flying Vs, Telecasters, Songbirds, Rickenbachers, Hofners, Stratocasters, Les Pauls, Bluesmasters. A Pensa-brand seven-stringed guitar.
Walter Becker, guitarist, bassist and co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band Steely Dan, died Sunday 4 september 2017 at the age of 67.
Fagen and Becker split the band after 1980’s Gaucho LP, reforming 20 years later to make the Grammy-winning Two Against Nature.
His death was announced on his official website, which gave no other details. He lived in Maui, Hawaii.
Mr. Becker was unable to perform with Steely Dan this summer at Classic West and Classic East in Los Angeles and New York City, two stadium-size festivals of 1970s bands. Last month, Mr. Fagen told Billboard, “Walter’s recovering from a procedure and hopefully he’ll be fine very soon.”
Becker missed two Steely Dan concerts in July this year due to ill health.