How Steely Dan Succeeded Using Core Members And A Rotating Group Of Musicians

Polyphonic takes a look at the still-popular and genius of Steely Dan. Throughout their career, core members Walter Becker (guitars, bass, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals) recorded with a revolving cast of session musicians, and in 1974 retired from live performances to become a studio-only band.

While Steely Dan is driven by the core two members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, those two alone don’t make up the band. In fact I think the proper way to think of Steely Dan isn’t even really as a band. Instead I think that Steely Dan was an aesthetic carefully curated by Becker and Fagen and that aesthetic is one that relied on intense perfectionism, unique lyricism and a rotating roster of talented session musicians.