Through all the years that Steely Dan has been in existence, the two players are the core were two old school friends -- keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen and bassist Walter Becker.
After getting their start as songwriters and supporting members of various bands, they finally formed Steely Dan in 1972 with guitarists Denny Dias and Skunk Baxter, keyboardist/vocalist David Palmer, and drummer Jim Hodder.
Can't Buy a Thrill dropped as their debut with two Top 10 singles sung by Fagen -- "Do It Again" and "Reeling in the Years." The accompanying tour, though, was not as successful and Palmer soon left.
Steely Dan tried to recapture their momentum with 1973's Countdown to Ecstasy, but couldn't. Drummer Jeff Porcaro and keyboardist/backup vocalist Michael McDonald were both added to the roster for 1974's Pretzel Logic which spawned one Top 10 hit in "Rikki Don't Lose That Number."
Another tour followed, after which Fagen and Becker decided Steely Dan would be a studio project, rather than a touring band.
For Katy Lied in 1975, the dynamic duo relied on session players to fill out the sound. Realizing some success with the album, they followed that same formula on The Royal Scam in 1976 and the Top Five, platinum-selling Aja in 1977, the latter of which started to incorporate more jazz fusion elements.
Such was their critical and peer respect that jazz legend Woody Herman made a record of their songs the following year.
While waiting out some label troubles, Steely Dan contributed the theme song to the 1978 film FM. It was a bonafide hit for them and bridged the gap until Gaucho saw daylight in 1980. Thought that effort also cracked the Top 10, Fagen and Becker decided to call it a day come '81 with both eventually pursuing solo careers.
Fagen's second solo set, 1993's Kamakiriad, found him working once again with Becker as producer. The two used the album as an excuse to do another Steely Dan tour. Switching roles for Becker's 11 Tracks of Whack solo project, the duo staged another band tour to support the release.
Finally, in 2000, they did a full-on collaboration with the Grammy-winning Two Against Nature.
More Steely Dan touring followed, as did a band album, 2003's Everything Must Go. To support Fagen's Morph the Cat in 2006 and Becker's Circus Money in 2008, the guys rallied together for even more Steely Dan touring, which gave them the best of both creative worlds.
In 2017 Walter Becker died.
Their tour in 2018 is called The Summer Of Living Dangerously.