After 39 years of married life together, Captain and Tennille filed for divorce on Thursday in the state of Arizona. The pair began professionally working together in 1972 after a keyboard player replacement was needed for a gig. Both keyboardists, Captain and Tennille musically understood each other and were married two years later.
Coming from a musical family, Captain is the son of California composer and conductor Carmen Dragon. As the keyboardist for the Beach Boys in the late 60s and early 70s, Daryl Dragon was given the nickname of Captain Keyboard. The Captain part stuck. One year after marrying Toni Tennille, the duo performing under the name Captain and Tennille scored a hit in 1975 with a cover of Love Will Keep Us Together, a song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. The following years brought more hits, Muskrat Love and Do That To Me One More Time being the two of the most well-known of their repertoire celebrating love and good feelings. Musically the duo of Captain and Tennille are identified for producing a style that could be described as romantic, effervescent and intimate.
Toni Tennille was born in Alabama into a family of entertainers. Early off she began her career performing and writing songs, becoming an established musician before she formed the duo with Captain. Although her collaboration with Captain was quite successful, even garnering them a television show on ABC, Tennille worked hard behind the music scenes. Credited, she often recorded as a backup singer for mainstream artists such as Elton John, Art Garfunkel, The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd. After the short lived television show Captain and Tennille continued to record albums together over more than three decades. In 2007 they recorded their last album titled The Secret of Christmas.
In 2013 most of their hits were re-released on Universal Music as part of a collection called ICON. As a soft rock duo both were excellent musicians and star quality performers delivering a package sound that repeatedly soared in the billboard charts in the 1970s. Recognized for their smooth and sentimental music it came as a shock to hear that Captain and Tennille filed for divorce after nearly four decades of marriage.
After the height of their popularity on the billboards the pair spent two decades based in the Lake Tahoe area. After the mid-80s their music was deemed to be old-fashioned in the ever evolving mainstream pop industry. Throughout the 1990s Toni Tennille continued to perform on stage in musical shows. Using her mellow contralto voice she even took up a career touring as a big band singer, eventually releasing two albums, More Than You Know (1984) and All Of Me (1987).
Captain and Tenille, the couple, retired to Arizona in 2008 and in 2009 Toni Tennille revealed via her blog that Captain was suffering from light symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Despite the mantra “Love Will Keep Us Together” and 23 million albums sold to confirm the popularity of soft rock, the sun went down on their marriage. Captain and Tennille filed for divorce after 39 years.
By Persephone Abbott