Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen on Walter Becker: ‘Hysterically Funny, a Great Songwriter’

Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen quickly released a statement about the death of his partner Walter Becker, the only other full-time member of the indelible longtime rockers.

His lengthy and honest statement reads:

Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We started writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room in the lobby of Ward Manor, a mouldering old mansion on the Hudson River that the college used as a dorm.

We liked a lot of the same things: jazz (from the twenties through the mid-sixties), W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and Robert Altman films come to mind. Also soul music and Chicago blues.

Walter had a very rough childhood — I’ll spare you the details. Luckily, he was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny. Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art. He used to write letters (never meant to be sent) in my wife Libby’s singular voice that made the three of us collapse with laughter.

His habits got the best of him by the end of the seventies, and we lost touch for a while. In the eighties, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul Review with Libby, we hooked up again, revived the Steely Dan concept and developed another terrific band.

I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.

Donald Fagen

September 3 2017

More Music

  • Tom Holkenborg Junkie XL

    Junkie XL Moves to ASCAP, Appearing at Film Scoring Workshop

    Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen quickly released a statement about the death of his partner Walter Becker, the only other full-time member of the indelible longtime rockers. His lengthy and honest statement reads: Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We […]

  • Kacey Musgraves Announces ‘Oh, What a

    Kacey Musgraves Announces ‘Oh, What a World’ Tour Dates

    Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen quickly released a statement about the death of his partner Walter Becker, the only other full-time member of the indelible longtime rockers. His lengthy and honest statement reads: Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We […]

  • Ed Sheeran Shape of You

    Ed Sheeran Tops Pollstar’s Mid-Year Touring Charts as Industry Soars to Record Gross

    Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen quickly released a statement about the death of his partner Walter Becker, the only other full-time member of the indelible longtime rockers. His lengthy and honest statement reads: Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We […]

  • cardi b jay-z beyonce

    Cardi B, Beyonce, Jay-Z Lead 2018 MTV VMA Nominations

    Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen quickly released a statement about the death of his partner Walter Becker, the only other full-time member of the indelible longtime rockers. His lengthy and honest statement reads: Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We […]

  • BMG to Relaunch ‘Live from Daryl’s

    ‘Live from Daryl’s House’ to Relaunch in the Fall Via BMG Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)

    Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen quickly released a statement about the death of his partner Walter Becker, the only other full-time member of the indelible longtime rockers. His lengthy and honest statement reads: Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We […]

  • Father John Misty

    Watch Father John Misty’s Surreal Animated Video for ‘Date Night’

    Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen quickly released a statement about the death of his partner Walter Becker, the only other full-time member of the indelible longtime rockers. His lengthy and honest statement reads: Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. We […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content