Guitarist/bassist/songwriter/producer Walter Becker hooked up with his partner Donald Fagen when both were attending Bard College in upstate New York in the late '60s. They became members of Jay and the Americans, then signed a songwriting contract with ABC Records in the early '70s. At ABC, they formed the group Steely Dan, who gradually dwindled down to just the two of them while they sold millions of records during the '70s.
They split up in 1981, with Becker turning to a part-time producing career (China Crisis, Rickie Lee Jones) and moving to Hawaii. Becker produced Fagen's Kamakiriad album in 1993, and the duo toured as Steely Dan again in 1993 and 1994. Becker belatedly launched a solo career with the release of his debut album, 11 Tracks of Whack, in 1994.