Walter Becker   1950-2017

Pop music had a void to be filled, so
these two boys had a hunch:
First, name their band after the dildo
from William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch

(some bands come apart right at the start
before unpacking their guitars
Some want bizarre, some want art
Other just want “The Cars”)

Second, make the tunes smooth
Almost easy-listening
But with harmonies infused
With Ellington and Debussy

Third, lyrics that are cryptic
Elliptic,  ambitious
They could trip on pretty sick dicks
And you wondered if fictitious

Finally, find the finest players
Be obsessive, make demands
Understated, shining layers
And there you are:  Steely Dan

Walter Becker was born in 1950
Too soon to exit from the stage
(I give pause, please forgive me
I am exactly Walter’s age)

He and Fagen met at Bard
Wrote songs above the Hudson
Donald piano, Walter guitar
the river leaves but just one.

After college, they moved to The City
Backed a top-forty band
On the road proved a little too gritty
Headed out to Lotus Land

Wrote a song for Barbra Streisand
And I can’t help but wonder
A cover with her inimitable styling:
Rikki Don’t Lose Than Number
 
(Oh no! I have been cursed!
Why did that thought ever occur?
That aural image is now getting worse
Steely Dan singing The Way We Were)

Then Steely Dan really hit it
Do it Again on Can’t Buy a Thrill
What they do, I really don’t get it
But I had not had my fill

I picture him when he first felt free
When he stood next to the piano
And his new friend pounded the keys
And they felt all the joy man can know

And now he sails the water
And we stand upon the shore
And along with his son and daughter
We hear him like never before:

Well the danger on the rocks in surely past
Still I remain tied to the mast
Could it me that I have found my home at last
Home at last “

Thanks to John Pareles, New York Times Obituary

Lyrics from “Home at Last“, Aja

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