Walter Becker

2/20/1950 - 9/3/2017 New York City

I don't know Becker's motto, but my favorite lyric is from Show Biz Kids: "Show business kids making movies of themselves, you know they don't give a f*(k about anybody else. Go to Las Vegas..."

The Playlist

Walter Becker Tribute

  • Rikki Don't Lose That Number Steely Dan
  • Go Back Jack and Do It Again Steely Dan
  • Reelin' In The Years Steely Dan
  • My Old School Steely Dan
  • Show Biz Kids Steely Dan
  • Deacon Blues Steely Dan
  • Hey Nineteen Steely Dan
  • Kid Charlemagne Steely Dan
  • Don't Take Me Alive Steely Dan
  • Bodhisattva Steely Dan
  • Pretzel Logic Steely Dan
  • Gaucho Steely Dan
  • King Of The World Steely Dan

My Playlist in Spotify

It didn't matter what decade - the 70's, 80's, 90's, aughts.... Steely Dan was always modern, the height of cool. Walter's guitar was the engine of that cool.

Damn... Walter Becker passed away today, the guy with the magic guitar sound, somewhere between rock, jazz, and funk, that the moment you heard it, you knew who it was. That Walter Becker... Rikki Don't Lose that Number, Show Biz Kids, Reelin' in the Years, Aja, Peg... King of the World.  

Walter was king of the studio and king of the guitar, a professor of the fretboard and master of the unexpected note.  In the 70s, Steely Dan would come on my local station, St. Louis' KSHE 95 - Real Rock Radio - and it always connected, always took the set to a new level.  Steely Dan was different from any band, a genre to themselves that nobody could really imitate.  If I were to pick one rock band that will still sound new and relevant 100 years from now, Steely Dan would be the one. 

From Reuters obituary today: "Born in New York City in 1950, Becker grew up revering the jazz giants Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. He and Fagen would bond over their love of this music after meeting as students at Bard College in New York in 1967.

“We started writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room in the lobby of Ward Manor, a moldering old mansion on the Hudson River that the college used as a dorm,” Fagen said in a statement on Sunday published by Variety.

After working as touring musicians they moved to Los Angeles, releasing the first Steely Dan album in 1972, “Can’t Buy a Thrill.” The band took their name from a fanciful dildo that appears in the beat novelist William S. Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch.”

The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2001, where their official biography describes their 1970s albums as “wry, nuanced and hyper-literate” that are “highly regarded by connoisseurs of pop hooks, jazz harmony and desiccating wit.” 

That says it well, but it still can't capture the feeling of a Steely Dan song, any song, when it comes on. Meaty, pure, elevating, clean, modern, fulfilling. And now the engine of all of that is gone. Walter Becker. May he rest in peace and his guitar licks last forever. 

Walter Becker Tribute

  • Aged well, no?

  • With the Band

  • California

  • First Record

  • Super Cool in the 70s

  • Their Best in my opinion

  • The Grammy. They deserved a dozen.

  • Aja was maybe their most contemplative album

  • Cartoon

  • I'm a fool to do your dirty work... oh yeah.

  • Just jammin'

  • Go to Las Vegas....

  • Long live Walter's music

Rickie Lee Jones

Surprised by Walter

I can't imagine a nicer story about a man like Walter than the one Rickie Lee Jones penned for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Bonus:  Listen to Rickie's version of Show Biz Kids on YouTube. It's the best.  

Want to create your own Last Soundtrack? You know you do. Be one of the cool kids, and click here.

Carl Hammerdorfer in honor of: