A Final Farewell

Walter Becker’s daughter posts open letter as his last Steely Dan concert appears online

By Gary Graff
September 7, 2017

There have been plenty of heartfelt tributes to Steely Dan’s Walter Becker since his death on Sunday (Sept. 3) from still-undisclosed causes at the age of 67. But few have been more heartfelt than a new open letter posted to him by his daughter, Sayan, on Becker’s web site.

Accompanied by a photo of Becker shopping for guitars, Sayan’s note reads:

“You loved music more than anyone I know. You’re always there bobbing your head to each beat, doing a little dance here and there, or sitting over there with your big head phones on and swaying back and forth. I could see it, your [sic] dissecting the song — listening in closely for each beat, for each musical instrument — you know, whatever you musicians do. But I get it.

“Every road trip without fail came The Pit Stop at some guitar store. Heck, dad, I keep telling you why don’t you just own your own store? Five hours go by as I sit watching you fiddle with a guitar here and there. . . yet you never end up buying one. I understand though; it was your fun place, like an arcade; playing all you can, and as loud as you can. Your candy shop.

“Dad you’re kinda funny; sometimes I may not understand the meaning behind your witty highly intelligent comments or jokes, but for you to smile and make everyone — or even thousands all at once — smile and laugh, then yeah you got something going for you pops. . .  I get it. Your presence makes everyone’s day a little brighter. I love you for that.

“Coast to coast. How is it that you know so many facts about every state or country we visit? We would walk through Central Park Zoo and just randomly point out some little thing. . . and here it comes, some long historical fact about it. Dad, it’s a seal for crying out loud! It amazes me how intelligent you are.

“’Dad, I like that we understand one another’

“’Sa-girl, we are soul mates’

“’Dad I love you to the moon and back’

“’Girly face I love you more than that, to the next galaxy’

“’Wow, that’s far!’

“’Well it’s true’

“. . . Thanks dad

“. . . for your love for music, your fatherly advice and devotion, your knowledge about the world and your blindingly sharp sense of humor — for all that, and more.

“We had one hell of a ride. You are my world, my soulmate, my father, that I love so much.

“It’s true your love is shining from the next galaxy. I could see it now; you got a whole galaxy of guitars to look at. Rock on dad, rock on until your heart is content.

“I hear you.

“I get you.

“- Your only Pulama Ama Lama.”

Becker, who passed away in Maui, is also survived by his wife Elinor and their son, Kawai.

Meanwhile, Becker’s final concert with Steely Dan, on May 27 in Greenwich, Connecticut, has been posted on YouTube, featuring his lead vocal on “Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More” and his usual mid-song rap during “Hey Nineteen.” Becker missed Steely Dan’s performances at the Classic West and Classic East concerts during July due to an undisclosed illness.