Obit watch: September 4, 2017.

Walter Becker, co-founder of Steely Dan, passed away yesterday. He was 67.

As Steely Dan, Mr. Becker and Mr. [Donald] Fagen changed the vocabulary of pop in the 1970s with songs like “Do It Again,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Peg.” Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen were close collaborators on every element of a song: words, music, arrangement. “We think very much the same musically. I can start songs and Walter can finish them,” Mr. Fagen said in a 1977 interview.
Steely Dan’s musical surfaces were sleek and understated, smooth enough to almost be mistaken for easy-listening pop, and polished through countless takes that earned Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen a daunting reputation as studio perfectionists.

….

In a statement released Sunday, Mr. Fagen wrote that Mr. Becker “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.”

I think it is time for a longer than usual musical interlude. I’ll put in a jump.

I think Mike the Musicologist is an even bigger fan of Steely Dan than I am. The thing that strikes me about their songs is how much fun they are, even if they do reflect a cynical view of human nature.

(I have been known, from time to time, under conditions of stress, to start singing “Oh, no, Guadalajara won’t do…” Don’t ask me why.)

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