Guitarist/bassist/songwriter/producer Walter Becker hooked up with his partner Donald Fagen when both were attending Bard College in upstate New York in the late '60s. They became members of Jay and the Americans, then signed a songwriting contract with ABC Records in the early '70s. At ABC, they formed the group Steely Dan, who gradually dwindled down to just the two of them while they sold millions of records during the '70s. They split up in 1981, with Becker turning to a part-time producing career (China Crisis, Rickie Lee Jones) and moving to Hawaii. Becker produced Fagen's Kamakiriad album in 1993, and the duo began touring again as Steely Dan that year. Becker belatedly launched a solo career with the release of his debut album, 11 Tracks of Whack, in 1994. At the dawn of the new millennium, Steely Dan released a new album, Two Against Nature, which won the Album of the Year award at the 2001 Grammys. Another Steely Dan album, Everything Must Go, arrived in 2003. Becker's second solo album, Circus Money, was released in 2008. Becker died in Maui, Hawaii in September 2017; he was 67 years old. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi

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