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Posts Tagged ‘Rickie Lee Jones’

RIP, Walter Becker (September 3, 2017) Steely Dan

Posted by themusicsover on September 3, 2017

Walter Becker
February 20, 1950 – September 3, 2017

By Arielinson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia

Walter Becker was the co-founder, co-songwriter, guitarist, and bassist for the immensely successful rock band, Steely Dan. Formed with Donald Fagen in 1972, the band built a sizable cult following almost immediately for their unique blend of pop, rock, traditional jazz and R&B behind clever lyrics.  Joined in the studio by top-tier session players, Steely Dan went on to record some of the most popular songs and albums of the ’70s.  Over the course of their first eight years, they released a remarkable seven albums – only 1979 going without.  Even more astonishing, among those seven albums, one was Double Platinum in the US, five were Platinum, and the other went Gold. Those included Aja, Can’t Buy A Thrill, Pretzel Logic, and Katy Lied.  In all, Steely Dan has sold over 40 million album worldwide.  As a band, Steely Dan went on hiatus in 1981, but both musicians carried on with other work.  For Becker’s part, he moved with his family to a more quiet life in Hawaii where he farmed avocados while working as a producer.  A few of his more notable clients were Michael Franks, Rickie Lee Jones, and China Crisis who credited him as being an official member of the band.  He and Fagen regrouped as Steely Dan in 1993 and immediately went on a well-received tour, their first in almost two decades.  In 2000, they released Two Against Nature, their first album since 1980.  It earned them four Grammys including Album of the Year. The following year found them being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  During the latter years of Becker’s career – while still touring and recording with Steely Dan – he released a solo album, guested on other albums and did some song co-writes.  On September 3, 2017, Walter Becker passed away, and by all accounts, it was unexpected. Cause of death was not immediately released.  He was 67.

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Died On This Date (July 23, 2011) Fran Landesman / Respected American Lyricist

Posted by themusicsover on July 23, 2011

Fran Landesman (Born Francis Deitsch)
October 21, 1927 – July 23, 2011

Fran Landesman was an American poet and lyricist who achieved international acclaim for penning the words to such songs as “The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men” and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.”  Born in New York City, Landesman eventually settled with her husband in St. Louis, Missouri where they owned and operated the Crystal Palace, a world-renowned night club that hosted the likes of Barbra Streisand, Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen.  It was while sitting at the bar listening to the singers that Landesman was inspired to take a stab at writing song lyrics herself.  The year was 1952, and it was then and there that she began collaborating with the club’s house pianist on a string of songs, some of which became hits as recorded by others.  That list of singers includes R0berta Flack, Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler, Sarah Vaughan, Petula Clark, Dudley Moore.  Landesman wrote countless songs over the course of her career, over 300 of which since 1994 alone.  In 1999, she donated her collection of writings to the University of Missouri, St. Louis but continued to make public appearances – reciting poetry or singing her songs – right up until her final days.  Fran Landesman was 83 when she passed away on July 23, 2011.

Thanks to Scott Miller for the assist.

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