Reeling in the Years, Walter Becker


His death was announced on his official website,  with a memorial by his daughter. He lived in Maui, Hawaii.  With such few personal details, we rectified his chart to Sagittarius 18 rising as he traveled far from home both in his career and his final move to the islands of Hawaii.  Becker’s temperament type is a Splash with the main grouping being in the Second House of personal resources highlighting his musical gifts.

While Mr. Becker left little literary memorabilia behind, he left his music to posterity, which was far ahead of its time melding pop and jazz into a fusion style that 40 years later bore fruit in the music industry.  Steely Dan wrote catchy tunes to harmonious melodies out of place of the hard rock of the 1970’s but they caught on and became hits.  Rolling Stone Magazine did a nice write up of their ten best songs, click here — chances are you know many of them.

 

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Lobby of th Fairmount Hotel, Maui

 

                                      The Making of Steely Dan

Walter Becker was born in Forest Hills, Queens, on Feb. 20, 1950, to an American father and a British mother.  She left when he was about three and returned home and so he was raised by his father and grandfather.  His mother re-emerged after he became famous and sued for 17 million dollars and he countersued for abandonment; both suits were dropped.

He studied saxophone and guitar in his teens. He met Mr. Fagen in 1967 when they were students at Bard College, a place they would recalled in the group’s  “My Old School.”

As Steely Dan, Mr. Becker and Mr. 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. I can start songs and Walter can finish them,” Mr. Fagen said in a 1977 interview.

 

                                          What is a Steely Dan?

Steely Dan — named after a dildo in the William Burroughs novel “Naked Lunch” — dissolved after its 1980 album, “Gaucho,” though Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen stayed in contact..

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The island of Haleakala

 

Becker moved to the Hawaiian island of Maui next Haleakala, the world’s largest dormant volcano.    He originally went to Maui to detox and become an avocado farmer. He met his wife Elinor, who is a yoga teacher, there and they had two children.  He had a recording studio over to one side of the island, on some land owned by his wife in the middle of a cattle ranch, looking out across the ocean working long hours but  he found himself walking back over to the house ‘to make sure my family hadn’t moved out’, obviously his mother’s abandonment (4th House 21 Aries a symbol of instability) always in the back of his mind.

 

Rolling Stone reports that Fagen is suing his bandmates estate for fullcontrol of the Steely Dan repetoire based on a 1972 agreement.

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