Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$50 Million
Jan 10, 1948 (76 years old)
5 ft 10 in (1.79 m)
Songwriter, Singer, Keyboard Player, Keytarist, Musician, Film Score Composer
United States of America
💰 Compare Donald Fagen's Net Worth

What is Donald Fagen's Net Worth?

Donald Fagen is an American musician and songwriter who has a net worth of $50 million. Donald Fagen is best-known for being a member of the band Steely Dan, which he co-founded with college friend Walter Becker in 1972. Donald Fagen began listening to jazz while he was in elementary school, and subsequently learned how to play the piano and the baritone horn. He went on to attend Bard College, where he majored in English Literature. While studying English he continued to play music throughout his college years. He also began to work with various bands, eventually being hired by ABC/Dunhill Records as a songwriter. The other person hired was his college classmate, Walter Becker.

In 1972 the pair would go on to form the core of the band, Steely Dan. Over the next several decades Steely Dan released nine studio albums and sold over 40 million records worldwide. Steely Dan would also become one of the most-sampled bands by hip-hop artists. Several of their riffs would be turned into hugely popular rap songs. Their music has been sampled for songs by De La Soul, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, Kanye West, Ice Cube, Wiz Khalifa, and 3rd Bass.

Donald Fagen has also pursued a successful solo career, and has released four solo records to date. Unfortunately Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017. Fagen continues to tours as Steely Dan.

Early Life and Education

Donald Fagen was born on January 10, 1948 in Passaic, New Jersey to Jewish parents Elinor and Jerry. He has a younger sister, with whom he was brought up in the Kendall Park suburbs of South Brunswick, New Jersey. Fagen despised suburban living, and turned to rock and R&B music as an escape from the mundanity. The first record he purchased was Chuck Berry's "Reelin' and Rockin'." Fagen was also inspired by jazz, and attended the Newport Jazz Festival as a kid. In the early 1960s, he started going to the Village Vanguard and attending performances by such jazz musicians as Charles Mingus and Miles Davis. As a student at South Brunswick High School, Fagen played baritone horn in the school marching band. After graduating in 1965, he attended Bard College to study English literature. There, Fagen met his longtime collaborator Walter Becker, with whom he and other musicians formed the college bands Leather Canary, the Don Fagen Jazz Trio, and the Bad Rock Band. Fagen and Becker left college in 1969 to move to Brooklyn to become a songwriting duo.

Steely Dan

In the summer of 1970, Fagen and Becker responded to an ad in the Village Voice looking for a bassist and a keyboard player with jazz skills. The ad was placed by guitarist Denny Dias, who was immediately impressed by Fagen and Becker. Subsequently, the pair formed the rock band Steely Dan, named after a steam-powered vibrator featured in the William S. Burroughs novel "Naked Lunch." Fagen took on lead singing and keyboard duties, while Becker played bass and later lead guitar; both wrote all the band's songs. Other members of the initial lineup were Dias, Jeff Baxter, Jim Hodder, and David Palmer. Steely Dan went on to release its debut studio album, "Can't Buy a Thrill," in 1972. A commercial success, it reached number 17 on the Billboard 200. It was followed by "Countdown to Ecstasy" and "Pretzel Logic," the latter of which made it to number eight on the album chart. Steely Dan had further success with 1975's "Katy Lied" and 1976's "The Royal Scam." The band's biggest hit was 1977's "Aja," which reached number three on the Billboard 200. Featuring the hit singles "Peg," "Deacon Blues," and "Josie," the album is often considered to be one of the greatest of all time.

Steely Dan followed the huge success of "Aja" with another commercial triumph, 1980's "Gaucho." However, the album was also beset by various personal and creative problems, including a three-way legal battle between Steely Dan, MCA, and Warner Bros. over the rights to its release. Moreover, jazz pianist Keith Jarrett sued Fagen and Becker for allegedly plagiarizing one of his tracks for the album's title song. Steely Dan subsequently broke up in 1981, but got back together to tour in the early 1990s. The band's next studio album was "Two Against Nature," the first after 20 years away from the studio. A commercial smash upon its release in 2000, the album was also met with critical hosannas, winning four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year. Steely Dan went on to release "Everything Must Go" in 2003, the band's ninth album and the last one to feature Becker. The album peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200. After Becker passed away in 2017, Fagen continued to tour as Steely Dan.

Below is a list of some songs that sampled Steely Dan tracks:

  • "Eye Know" by De La Soul sampled "Peg" by Steely Dan
  • "Stand Up" by Ludacris sampled "Black Cow" by Steely Dan
  • "Last Call" by Kanye West sampled "Kid Charlemagne" by Steely Dan
  • "Pray" by Jay Z sampled "Peg" by Steely Dan
  • "Love" by MF DOOM sampled "Kid Charlemagne" by Steely Dan
  • "Before We Die" by Trey Songz sampled "Time Out of Mind" by Steely Dan
  • "Glamour Profession" by 6ix9ine sampled "Glamour Profession" by Steely Dan
  • "Champion's Theme" by Wale sampled "Kid Charlemagne" by Steely Dan

This list is not exhaustive as Steely Dan's influence and extensive catalogue have made them a favorite among artists for sampling.

Donald Fagen Net Worth

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Solo Career

Following the initial breakup of Steely Dan in 1981, Fagen embarked on a solo career. His debut solo album, "The Nightfly," came out in 1982 and made it to number 11 on the Billboard 200. The album launched the successful single "I.G.Y." Fagen's second solo album, "Kamakiriad," was also a commercial hit; released in 1993, it peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200. After another long break, Fagen released his third solo album, "Morph the Cat," in 2006. It was followed in 2012 by "Sunken Condos," which reached number 12 on the Billboard 200.

Musical Collaborations and Contributions

Fagen collaborated with Becker outside of Steely Dan. In 1986, they worked on the debut album by Rosie Vela, "Zazu." In 1994, Fagen co-produced and played keyboards on Becker's debut solo album "11 Tracks of Whack"; the year before, Becker had produced Fagen's solo album "Kamakiriad."

Among his other notable collaborations, Fagen has toured with the New York Rock and Soul Revue and the Dukes of September. He has also contributed songs to movie soundtracks, including the track "Century's End" for the 1988 drama "Bright Lights, Big City." Other collaborators have included Poco, Diana Ross, Jennifer Warnes, and Todd Rundgren.

Personal Life

In 1993, Fagen wed singer-songwriter and actress Libby Titus. An altercation occurred between the pair in early 2016 when Fagen allegedly shoved Titus against a window frame in their Upper East Side apartment. Through his wife, Fagen has a stepdaughter named Amy Helm, who is also a musician and singer-songwriter. The two have often performed together.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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