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Walter Becker

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Biografia

Becker was born in Queens, New York, grew up in Westchester County and Forest Hills, Queens, and is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, class of 1967. After starting out on saxophone, he switched to guitar and received instruction in blues technique from neighbor Randy Wolfe who, under the pseudonym Randy California, played with Jimi Hendrix and founded the group, Spirit.

He met his long-time musical partner, Donald Fagen, while attending Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Becker and Fagen formed and played in a number of groups, including The Leather Canary, which also included the now famous actor/comedian Chevy Chase on drums. At the time, Chase called the group “a bad jazz band.” Becker and Fagen’s youthful career also included a stint with Jay and the Americans under pseudonyms prior to relocating to California and forming Steely Dan. The band released seven successful albums in its initial ten-year career. In addition to co-writing all of the band’s material, Becker played bass on many of the band’s tracks, as well as providing guitar solos, rhythm guitar, occasional backing vocals and arrangements.

Following Steely Dan’s breakup in 1981, Becker moved to Hawaii, and began a career as a record producer, producing records from Rickie Lee Jones, China Crisis and Michael Franks.

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