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Walter Becker

WalterbeckerwSteely Dan was one of those bands that defined FM Rock Radio in the '70s. And, not just because they wrote the song that celebrated the medium.

Early FM Radio was the realm of Dylan, the Dead, Quicksilver, Jefferson Airplane, Poco, Steve Miller...and lots of jazz and blues. As it morphed into a platform for generalized rock, Steely Dan's music stood out as that sophisticated marriage of a number of genres; an outpost that, for a time, preserved FM from becoming the wasteland it is today.

Bassist and co-conspirator Walter Becker, along with Donald Fagan, was one half of Steely Dan...a "band" like few others, because it changed, from song to song and album to album, to suit the vision of duo. The revolving players in Steely Dan were a veritable who's who: Michael MacDonald, Skunk Baxter, Jeff Porcaro, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Wayne Shorter, Tom Scott...and countless others.

Walter departed terra firma earlier this week, his daughter saying, "we had one hell of a ride. You are my world, my soulmate, my father that I love so much." And, it doesn't get much better than that.

So, for this Music Friday, where to go with such an amazing body of work? As my nostalgia for the band is kicking in, I'm drawn to music from their very first LP. There's the appearance on American Bandstand with the obligatory (for the time) lip sync of "My Old School" (suggested by our friend Amir Eylon...and because I love the lyric). Then, there's the live performance of "Reelin' in the Years" on the Midnight Special.

And I love them both.



Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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