Reeling in the Years, Walter Becker

His death was announced on his official website,  with a memorial by his daughter but gave no other details. He lived in Maui, Hawaii.



lobby of fairmont maui.jpg

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 sardonically recall in the group’s  “My Old School.”

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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 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.

Their songs were catchy and insinuating enough to infiltrate pop radio in the 1970s. “That’s sort of what we wanted to do, conquer from the margins,” Mr. Becker told Time Out New York in 2011. “Find our place in the middle based on the fact that we were creatures of the margin and of alienation.”

                                         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.



The island of Haleakala


Becker though 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.

Becker 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.  He worked there for long hours, such that he found himself walking back over to the house ‘to make sure my family hadn’t moved out’.


      Learning from Walter Becker’s map

You can download here the natal chart of walter becker of steely dan.    It is a rough draft, and not very specific because so little is known about him, other than his music, but does get you in the ball park — or should we say since Becker came from Forest Hills — the tennis courts.

With this tentative Ascendant, Mr. Becker is a See-Saw temperament his personality driven by home and family in the Northern hemisphere and friends and the need for musical self-expression in the Southern.

He has seven trines in his chart that become a focal determinator or a modern type of Lord of the chart, dominating how he interacts with others.  In Becker’s case, this suggests that his gift was in extemporaneous self-express — the ability to quickly react to the situation and at hand by making  a joke or thinking of a song that was captured that moment.



Haleakala National Park


He also has three quintiles (72º) that is associated with creative output.  Many quintiles suggest that Becker needed a creative output and indeed he has a quintile between Uranus and Saturn rulers of Aquarius where his Fifth House is found and Vesta also resides.

That asteroid is in turn  biquintile to Pluto in the Tenth next to his Pars Fortuna (Part of Fortune) all of which supports the strong technique in his music but also a good ear for harmony (his ascendant quintiling his Saturn) and the desire to the best (10th House emphasis).


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