Captain & Tennille

  • Husband and wife soft rock artists from Los Angeles California, formed in 1973. “Captain” is keyboardist Daryl Dragon, and “Tennille” is singer Toni Tennille. Both were songwriters, though their biggest hits were written by other songwriters.
  • Dragon was a keyboardist for the Beach Boys from 1967 to 1972. He met Tennille in 1971 during auditions for Mother Earth, a rock musical for which she composed the music. Dragon introduced Tennille to the Beach Boys, and she played piano with them during their concert tour in 1972 – the only “Beach Girl” that was part of the Beach Boys. The following year, they formed their own act, performing at local venues as Captain & Tennille. The “Captain” moniker came from Mike Love of the Beach Boys – he gave Dragon the nickname “Captain Keyboard,” and Dragon began wearing a captain’s hat during performances.
  • A song written by Tennille, The Way I Want To Touch You, was recorded and was popular on Los Angeles radio stations. This led to the couple signing a recording contract. Their debut album was released in May 1975 – Love Will Keep Us Together. The title track, written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, reached #1 on the Hot 100 chart, remaining there for 4 weeks. By the end of the year, it was the #1 song for the entire year, and it won the Grammy award for Record of the Year for 1975. They also recorded a Spanish version of the song – Por Amor Viviremos – it also charted, and it was the first time that two versions of the same song charted simultaneously on the Hot 100 chart. The Way I Want To Touch You also was on the album, and the single peaked at #4 on the Hot 100, and at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  • Captain and Tennille got married in November 1975. After recording and releasing the entire Love Will Keep Us Together album in a Spanish version, their next studio album was Song of Joy, released in 1976. It became their best selling album, certified platinum in sales. Three major hits came from this album – Loney Night (Angel Face) reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart (another Neil Sedaka-penned piece), a cover of Smoky Robinson’s Shop Around reached #4 and #1 respectively, and a cover of America’s Muskrat Love also reached #4 and #1 respectively.
  • The duo followed with a couple of top 40 hits with Can’t Stop Dancin’ and You Never Done It Like That (another Sedaka/Greenfield song) over the next 2 years, but success was getting harder to achieve. In 1979, they signed a new record deal, and their Make Your Move album included a song that brought them back to the top of the Hot 100 chart. Written by Tennille, Do That To Me One More Time was their final song to break into the top 40, and it was the #5 song for all of 1980.
  • At the height of their popularity, Captain & Tennille had their own TV variety show, from September 1976 to March 1977. It had good ratings, and ABC wanted to continue its run, but the couple requested that it be cancelled so that they could focus on recording and touring.
  • Tennille also worked as a session singer for other artists, including Elton John, Art Garfunkel, and The Beach Boys. And, believe it or not – she was a backing vocalist on Pink Floyd’s The Wall album.
  • A couple of studio albums released in the 80s were not successful. By the mid 80s, Tennille was focusing on a solo career, performing pop standards and big band music. She released 5 solo albums during the 80s, 90s, and 00s. She also performed on Broadway as the star of Victor/Victoria. The duo also performed concerts frequently during the 80s and 90s.
  • Throughout their career, Captain said very few words while performing – Tennille handled all of the audience engagement. By 2010, he had a neurological disorder that caused tremors, preventing him from playing keyboards. In 2014, they divorced, though they remained close friends. Dragon died of renal failure in January 2019.
  • Captain & Tennille were early Yacht Rockers. Their feel good, mellow rock hits were perfect for that developing 70s genre. Here’s the video to their biggest hit, Love Will Keep Us Together. An infectious little pop song that really is brilliant, loaded with vocal and keyboard hooks!


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