Steely Dan’s Walter Becker Gets His Own Street

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Walter Becker (Photo used with permission)

Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker, who died September 3, 2017 at age 67, was honored posthumously on October 28 when the street where he grew up in the Forest Hills section of Queens, New York, was co-named Walter Becker Way. The street sign now graces the corner of 112th Street and 72nd Drive.

The unveiling was accompanied by a ceremony that included special guests and remembrances from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Becker’s friends and colleagues. The event was presented by New York’s Classic Rock Q104.3, which streamed it live on its Facebook page. The day’s festivities were planned and organized by Becker’s fans.

“Walter’s fans have decades of experience holding ‘Danfests’ throughout the country,” says Becker’s widow, Delia in a press release announcing the event, “and they always find innovative and eclectic ways of celebrating. It will undoubtedly be a fun and free gathering to honor and commemorate Walter as only they can!”

Related: Remembering Walter Becker’s final concert

A view of the street sign during the Walter Becker Way street renaming ceremony on October 28, 2018 in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC. (Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

“The New York City Council bestows street co-naming honors on New York activists, cultural heroes and community leaders whose contribution has a lasting impact on the city, the country, and the world,” noted the release. The motion to co-name Walter Becker Way was put forward by New York City Council Member Karen Koslowitz of the 29th District (Forest Hills) by way of a legislative bill, which was approved by a full council vote on June 28.

The event’s keynote speaker was screenwriter Howard A. Rodman, who met Becker in the neighborhood when they were both ten and remained his lifelong friend.

Becker was born in Queens on February 20, 1950. He and Donald Fagen formed Steely Dan in 1971 and went on to become one of the most successful and important partnerships in rock history. Becker’s cancer became public knowledge after he missed several key concert dates. Upon Becker’s death, Fagen called Becker “smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter,” and said that he intended to “keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.” Fagen has continued to tour under the Steely Dan name since Becker’s passing.

Additional announcements about Walter Becker Way will be posted here.

Watch Steely Dan accept the Grammy for their Two Against Nature album

Steely Dan sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and helped define the soundtrack of the ’70s with hits such as “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” “F.M.,” “Peg,” “Hey Nineteen,” “Deacon Blues,” and “Babylon Sisters,” culled from their seven platinum albums issued between 1972 and 1980 (including 1977’s groundbreaking Aja). They reunited in the early ’90s, launching over a dozen sold-out tours which continued into 2017.

In 2000 they released the multi-Grammy winner (including Album of the Year) Two Against Nature, which was followed by Everything Must Go in 2003. They received the ASCAP Founder’s Award in 2000 and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

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