Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Arielinson
Walter Becker was born in Forest Hills.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Walter Carl Becker, the Forest Hills native and co-founder, guitarist, and bassist for the pioneering American jazz-rock band, Steely Dan, died on Sunday in Hawaii following a battle with an undisclosed illness. He was 67.
Becker was born on Feb. 20, 1950, in Forest Hills and lived in the World’s Borough community until the age of 5, when the family moved to Scarsdale. He attended the prestigious and highly selective Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan before studying at Bard College in Upstate New York, which is where he met long-time musical collaborator and songwriting companion, Don Fagen.
Becker and Fagen moved to California in 1971 and formed Steely Dan. The group enjoyed critical and commercial success before disbanding in 1981.
“His habits got the best of him by the end of the ’70s, and we lost touch for a while,” Fagen wrote in a tribute to Becker published by Rolling Stone magazine. “In the ’80s, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul Review with Libby [Titus], 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.”
Becker’s daughter, Sayan, penned a love letter to her dad that was posted over the weekend on his official website.
“We had one hell of a ride,” she wrote. “You are my world, my soulmate, my father, that I love so much.”