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Captain & Tennille

Captain & Tennille
Captain & Tennille
Captain and Tennille, 1976
Background information
Origin United States
Genres Adult Contemporary, Easy listening, Pop
Years active 1974–2013
Labels A&M, Casablanca, Mirage
Members Daryl Dragon
Toni Tennille

Captain & Tennille were American recording artists whose primary success occurred in the 1970s.[1][2] The husband-and-wife duo were "Captain" Daryl Dragon (born August 27, 1942) and Cathryn Antoinette "Toni" Tennille (born May 8, 1940). They have five albums certified gold or platinum and scored numerous hits on the US singles charts, the most enduring of which included "Love Will Keep Us Together", "Do That to Me One More Time", and "Muskrat Love". They hosted their own television variety series on ABC in 1976–77.

Early history and collaboration

In 1972, Toni Tennille was the co-writer of an ecology-themed musical called Mother Earth. At that time, Daryl Dragon (son of composer Carmen Dragon) was the keyboardist for The Beach Boys. When Tennille's show was getting ready to move from San Francisco's Marines Memorial Theatre to Southern California's South Coast Repertory, a call was put out for a replacement keyboardist. Dragon was in between tours when he heard about the opening, met Tennille in San Francisco to audition, and landed the gig.

Reciprocating in kind, Dragon later suggested Tennille to The Beach Boys when the band needed an additional keyboardist, and they hired her. She toured with them for a year, and Toni Tennille has since been known as The Beach Boys' one and only "Beach Girl".[3]

When the tour was over, and realizing their collaborative potential, they began performing as a duo at the legendary (but now-defunct) Smokehouse Restaurant in Encino, California and started to make a name for themselves in the Los Angeles area. During this time, an early version of a Tennille-penned tune they had recorded, "The Way I Want to Touch You", became a hit on a local radio station and led to a recording contract with A&M Records.[4]

Their first hit single was a cover of Neil Sedaka's and Howard Greenfield's "Love Will Keep Us Together". The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart nine weeks after its debut in 1975 and went on to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Tennille paid tribute to Sedaka in the recording when she overdubbed her own voice during the outro of the single, singing "Sedaka is back." They successfully mined the Sedaka songbook a number of times over their chartmaking career as two other hit singles were Sedaka co-writes, "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" and "You Never Done It Like That", as well as several other album tracks.[5] Their Spanish recording of "Love Will Keep Us Together", "Por Amor Viviremos", also charted in 1975 — it was the first time two versions of the same single charted at the same time.

Tennille and Dragon married on Veteran's Day (November 11), 1974, not Valentine's Day as is often erroneously reported.[6]

Success and subsequent period

Over the next few years, Captain and Tennille released a string of hit singles mostly from their first two albums titled Love Will Keep Us Together (US #2, 1975) and Song Of Joy (US #9, 1976) including "The Way I Want to Touch You" (US #4), "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" (US #3), "Shop Around" (US #4), and "Muskrat Love" (US #4).

In July 1976, they were invited by First Lady Betty Ford to perform in the East Room of the White House in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II and President Gerald Ford during the country's bicentennial celebration.

Such was the level of their popularity that they were given their own television variety show. The Captain and Tennille TV show aired from September 1976 to March 1977 on ABC. It featured musical numbers and comedy sketches performed with various guest stars. However, despite solid ratings success, the duo wanted to focus on their music and touring career and, after one season, asked to be released from their contract.

The duo's third album Come in from the Rain (US #18, 1977) produced three singles: "Can't Stop Dancing" (US #13), the title track (US #61), and "Circles", which did not chart. A&M Records later released a Greatest Hits album (1977) which peaked at #55 on the US Top 200.

The duo released their fourth studio album Dream (US #131, 1978), although their first single "I'm on My Way" (US #74) failed to become a hit. However, their second single, and third Sedaka title, "You Never Done It Like That", fared much better at #10. A third single was "You Need a Woman Tonight" (US #40). Dream would be the last Captain and Tennille studio album released by A&M.

In 1979, Neil Bogart signed them to a contract on his Casablanca Records label. The album Make Your Move (US #23, 1979) rose much higher on the chart than the act's previous release, and the first single "Do That to Me One More Time" reached the summit on February 16, 1980, becoming their second #1 single. However, subsequent singles "Love on a Shoestring" (US #55) and "Happy Together (A Fantasy)" (US #53) only achieved minimal success.

Keeping Our Love Warm (1980) was the duo's second Casablanca release, and sixth studio album overall, but failed to crack the Top 200.

During the duo's period of highest popularity, Tennille also worked as a session singer (most frequently partnered with The Beach Boys' Bruce Johnston), performing as a backing vocalist on the Elton John albums Caribou, Blue Moves, and 21 at 33 (some vocally arranged by Dragon) and most notably on the hit track "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". She also appeared as a backing vocalist on tracks by Art Garfunkel and The Beach Boys, as well as Pink Floyd for whom she performed backing tracks on The Wall album.

In the liner notes of the Captain & Tennille anthology Ultimate Collection: The Complete Greatest Hits, Tennille explains how her work on Pink Floyd's album gained her at least one new fan:

I went to see the Pink Floyd concert at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles. There was a 15-year-old boy sitting in front of me who recognized me. He turned around and snottily said, 'What are YOU doing here?' So I told him I sang on the album. He ran off to find a friend who had brought the LP to the show, and looked at the back to see if my name was really on there. A few minutes later, he came back and apologetically said, 'Can I have your autograph?'
—Tennille, Ultimate Collection: The Complete Greatest Hits

Toni Tennille hosted her own syndicated television talk show for one year in 1980.[citation needed]


Throughout the 1990s, they continued to perform various concert dates at venues around the world, frequently at Harrah's Lake Tahoe which was close to their home near Carson City, Nevada. One of their more notable appearances in that decade occurred when they played at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in 1995, as part of their twentieth anniversary as an act.

At the same time throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Tennille enjoyed a second career as a big band and pop standard singer, not unlike pop colleague Linda Ronstadt. She performed with orchestras throughout the country and subsequently recorded several solo albums including Mirage Records' More Than You Know (1984), and All Of Me on Gaia Records in 1987.

Toni Tennille also enjoyed a year as the star of the Broadway tour of Victor/Victoria. At the end of that project, she and Dragon were to have embarked on a twenty-fifth anniversary tour; however, the stresses of the road proved too demanding and Captain & Tennille instead put an indefinite hold on their career as a performing duo. Nevertheless, Captain & Tennille's popularity remained evident in the release of their Ultimate Collection: The Complete Hits on Hip-O Records (a subsidiary of Universal Records) in 2001, and More Than Dancing... Much More, a 2002 compact disc. The latter contains what was originally their final album in 1982, More Than Dancing, which at that time was released only in Australia, and is combined with selected tracks from their 1995 20 Years of Romance, originally on K-Tel (re-recordings of their songs, and cover versions of others), as well as five newly released tracks.

In November 2003, Tennille performed a benefit concert for the Reno, Nevada Chamber Orchestra, where her surprise guest was Dragon. It was the first time they had publicly performed as Captain & Tennille in many years. Their first live recording, An Intimate Evening with Toni Tennille, was released to commemorate the event.

In 2005, Brant Berry, the vice president of a small Portland, Oregon–based entertainment company, Respond 2 Entertainment (R2), signed an agreement with Captain & Tennille to release three separate projects. The first was the home video release of Captain & Tennille's 1976 variety series, on a three-disc DVD set containing eleven complete episodes with bonus musical tracks. Second, R2 re-released all six of their albums, both from the original A&M and Casablanca labels, on newly remastered CDs. Several of the CDs were previously only available in Japan. The new CDs, packaged both as individual CDs and in a box set, contained new liner notes written by Tennille.

Third, a new recording by Captain & Tennille was released—a three-song Christmas CD entitled Saving Up Christmas. This effort was followed by The Secret of Christmas released on Captain & Tennille's own label, Purebred Records, on November 1, 2006. It was Captain & Tennille's first complete original album produced in more than a decade, and their first-ever Christmas album.

Tennille returned to the UK airwaves and to club play when the band Bent sampled a small portion of her vocals from Captain & Tennille's 1979 track, "Love on a Shoestring" (from the album Make Your Move), into their "Magic Love" single in 2003. An Ashley Beedle remix of the single heightened the danceability of the original ambient track.

In October 2006, Cartoon Network's animated special Casper's Scare School was aired. The duo recorded two songs for the film, and voiced the dialog for the characters who sang the songs. Tennille portrayed Aunt Belle and the Captain was Uncle Murray, who together formed a two-head-on-one-body being known as the Ankle. The two songs they performed, "Why Does Love Make Me Feel So Good" and "World Without Fear", were written by Magnus Fiennes. Captain & Tennille's co-stars on the show included Phyllis Diller, James Belushi, Dan Castellaneta, and Bob Saget.

In 2007, three new DVDs were released of Captain & Tennille's ABC TV specials: Captain & Tennille in Hawaii, Captain & Tennille in New Orleans, and Captain & Tennille Songbook.

Dragon and Tennille spent most of the 1990s in the Lake Tahoe area in Nevada, where they had lived for more than a dozen years, and where Tennille served as Ambassador for the Arts for the state. In the mid-2000s, they temporarily took year-round residence at their second home, located in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. In 2008 they built a house and settled down in Prescott, Arizona, where Tennille participates in the annual Prescott Jazz Summit.[citation needed]


Tennille filed for divorce from Dragon in the State of Arizona on January 16, 2014, after 39 years of marriage. Dragon was unaware of this until he was served with the divorce papers.[7] The divorce documents referenced health insurance or health issues, and Tennille had written on her blog in 2010 that Dragon's neurological condition, similar to Parkinson’s, was characterized by such extreme tremors he could no longer play keyboards.[8]



Year Album RIAA Certification US 200 Label
1975 Love Will Keep Us Together Gold 2 A&M
1976 Por Amor Viviremos D A&M
Song of Joy Platinum 9 A&M
1977 Come in from the Rain Gold 18 A&M
Greatest Hits Gold 55 A&M
1978 Dream 131 A&M
1979 Make Your Move A Gold 23 Casablanca
1980 Keeping Our Love Warm Casablanca
20 Greatest Hits Music for Pleasure
1981 Scrapbook Spectrum
1982 More Than Dancing B Wizard
1993 A&M Gold Series: Captain & Tennille A&M
1995 Twenty Years of Romance E Nouveau
1997 Captain & Tennille E Arcade
1998 A&M Digitally Remastered Best A&M
2001 Ultimate Collection Hip-O
2002 More Than Dancing … Much More C Raven
2005 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Captain & Tennille Universal
Songs of Joy: The Complete Captain & Tennille Collection R2 Entertainment
Saving Up Christmas - Tahoe Snow (CD Single) R2 Entertainment
2007 The Secret of Christmas RetroActive
2013 ICON Universal Music

(A) Also charted at No. 33 UK

(B) Australian release only

(C) Worldwide re-release of 1982 Australian album with bonus tracks

(D) Spanish Version of Love Will Keep Us Together (1975 LP)

(E) Re-Recorded Songs and Cover Versions


see Captain & Tennille singles discography

Year Single US US
UK AU RIAA Certification
1975 "Love Will Keep Us Together" 1 1 32 1 Gold
"Por Amor Viviremos" 49
"The Way I Want to Touch You" 4 1 28 9 Gold
1976 "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" 3 1 9 Gold
"Shop Around" 4 1 37 Gold
"Muskrat Love" 4 1 65 Gold
1977 "Can't Stop Dancin'" 13 12 67
"Come in From the Rain" 61 8
"Circles" 9
1978 "I'm on My Way" 74 6 97
"You Never Done It Like That" 10 14 63 51
"You Need a Woman Tonight" 40 17 87
1979 "Do That to Me One More Time" 1 4 58 7 3 Gold
1980 "Love on a Shoestring" 55
"Happy Together (A Fantasy)" 53 27
"This Is Not the First Time" 107
1981 "Keeping Our Love Warm" 106
2007 "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"


  • The Ultimate Collection (2005)
  • The Christmas Show (2007)
  • Captain & Tennille in New Orleans (2007)
  • Captain & Tennille in Hawaii (2007)
  • Songbook (2007)



  • Fuqua, Christopher S. (2004). Music Fell on Alabama: The Muscle Shoals Sound That Shook the World. Montgomery, AL: NewSouth Books. p. 159. ISBN 1-58838-157-9. 
  • Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard book of number 1 hits. New York: Billboard Books. p. 980. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has a minor villain named "Captain Tennille"

External links