The issue, it seems, is the name “Steely Dan.” Or whatever that is.
The two had signed what is known as a “Buy/Sell Agreement” after the band formed in 1972, which essentially lets one member to buy the shares of the other, on behalf of “Steely Dan,” should there be a departure or death. The Becker estate wants Becker’s widow to have the shares.
It is worth taking a look back at the band, such as it was, as one could say that it has always been a duo with an array of supporting musicians.
The first album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, was released in 1972. It was followed with a series of annual releases: Countdown to Ecstasy, ’73; Pretzel Logic, ’74; Katy Lied, ’75; The Royal Scam, ’76; and Aja, ’77. There was a short break, as Gaucho didn’t appear until 1980.
In 1995 Alive in America was released. The next studio album was Two Against Nature, 2000, the same year another live album was released, Plush TV Jazz-Rock Party.
The final Steely Dan album was released in 2003, Everything Must Go.
Fagen had four solo albums: The Nightfly, ’82; Kamakiriad, ’93; Morph the Cat, ’06; Sunken Condos, ’12.
Becker had two: 11 Tracks of Whack, ’94; Circus Money, ’08.
According to steelydan.com, in 1973, “The band in various configurations tours the U.S. and Britain.”
Then there was something of a touring hiatus, it seems.
The site notes that in 1980 “Becker and Fagen go their separate ways.”
So the first tour had an assortment of musicians and seven years later, after that flurry of annual albums and then Gaucho, that was it.