RIP Walter Becker, Steely Dan Co-Founder

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All of us at KCRW were saddened yesterday (9/3/17) when we heard the news that Walter Becker had passed away.

I’ve built my life in radio; first in Dallas at the NPR station there, and for the last 27 years at KCRW, around the notion that the greatest developments in music know no boundaries. Genre’s belonged to academics, journalists and record stores, but not to the vibrant, wild west of discovery that makes adventures in new music so exhilarating — it’s that spirit that we’ve always tried to reflect here at KCRW.

In that regard, Steely Dan was gargantuan.

Taking their name from the oversized, steam-powered strap-on mentioned in the WM Burroughs’ novel Naked Lunch, the band brought a sophistication to the rock world, honoring their songs with top flight musicianship, and recording studio polish. While they veered toward the freedom that jazz allowed, they would call themselves a rock band, albeit a rock band with a love for the blues, latin music, and a great pop hook.

RIP Walter Becker. Here’s a comprehensive look back at his countless musical contributions.