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.”

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.