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Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen sues estate of late bandmate Walter Becker

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

Donald Fagen is suing the estate of his late bandmate Walter Becker over control of the Steely Dan name.

Becker died in September this year at the age of 67, with Rolling Stone reporting that Fagen and Becker signed a Buy/Sell Agreement in 1972 that stated that if a member of Steely Dan died or quit, the band would buy all of that person’s shares in the group.

Fagen has taken the decision to sue after he received a letter just a few days after his bandmate’s death which said that the agreement had “no force or effect.” It’s also reported that the letter states that Becker’s widow Delia is to become a director or officer of Steely Dan and is entitled to 50% ownership of the band.

The lawsuit reads: “Fagen – acting on behalf of himself and on behalf of Steely Dan, as its sole remaining officer and director – hereby exercises the mandatory provision of the Buy/Sell Agreement requiring Steely Dan to purchase Becker’s shares.”

Fagen is also suing Steely Dan’s business management firm Nigro, Karlin, Segal, Feldstein & Bolno, alleging that they have been withholding information from him, including royalty statements and tour income records.

Following Becker’s death, Fagen posted a tribute to his friend, adding: “I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can, both with the Steely Dan band. We’ll miss him forever.”

Buyer's Guide: how to buy the best of Steely Dan

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.