The Captain & Tennille are a husband and wife US pop music duo who achieved success during the 1970s. The duo consists of "The Captain", Daryl Dragon (born August 27, 1942) and "Tennille", Toni Tennille (born May 8, 1943)
When they met in 1971 in San Francisco, Dragon had been performing for a few years as a keyboardist for the The Beach Boys and Tennille was staging a musical she had written called "Mother Earth" at the Marines Memorial Theatre. Tennille hired Dragon as a musician for the production after which, in turn, Dragon helped Tennille land a gig as a touring keyboardist with The Beach Boys.
They soon discovered they made a great team on their own and began performing on a regular basis at The Smokehouse club in Encino, CA (Los Angeles), initially billed as The Dragons. Their popularity as a musical duo reached unprecedented heights for The Smokehouse which, after Dragon & Tennille released a single on their own label (Butterscotch Castle Records) as Captain & Tennille, eventually led to a recording contract with A&M Records.
Their first single, a cover version of Neil Sedaka's "Love Will Keep Us Together" spent four weeks at number one in the US in 1975 and became the top selling single of the year. They also received a Grammy Award for Record of the Year for this recording, which also gave Sedaka his first Grammy.
In November of 1975, they got married.
Over the next few years they released a string of hit singles including "The Way I Want To Touch You", "Lonely Night (Angel Face)", "Shop Around", "Muskrat Love", and "You Never Done It Like That". Such was their level of success that they were given their own television show, but they were not happy with its format and asked to be released from their contract. They also left A&M when it began to turn its attentions to the newly signed punk rock act Sex Pistols at the expense of acts such as Carpenters and themselves.
Neil Bogart signed them to a contract with Casablanca Records and they reached number one with their first single "Do That To Me One More Time". Subsequent singles achieved only moderate success, and when Bogart died in 1982, the company went bankrupt, and the duo were left without a record company. They signed with CBS Records but, not being able to find a niche there, were released from their contract.
They continued to perform various concert dates for years at venues around the world and, increasingly, in Lake Tahoe, which was close to where they lived in Northern Nevada. One of their most legendary appearances occurred when they played a one-time-only date at The House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in 1995 as part of their 20th anniversary as an act.
At the same time throughout the '80s and '90s, Tennille enjoyed a 2nd career as a big band and pop standards singer, mimicking the success of pop colleague Linda Ronstadt. She released several albums and performed with orchestras throughout the country, which she still does to this day.
She 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 25th 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 (a subsidiary of Universal Records) in 2001 and "More Than Dancing...Much More," a 2002 CD. 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 tracks never-before-released on vinyl or CD.
In November 2003, Tennille performed a benefit concert for the Reno Chamber Orchestra where her surprise guest was none other than Dragon. This was the first time they had publicly performed as Captain & Tennille in many years and, as a result, a live recording (their first) was released to commemorate the event. Not available on commercial websites, the double-CD, "An Intimate Evening with Toni Tennille," can be acquired solely through the Reno Chamber Orchestra website, http://renochamberorchestra.org.
The couple still reside in Northern Nevada where Tennille was appointed "Ambassador For The Arts" by the governor of the state.
Tennille's father was singer Clark Randall (aka Frank Tennille), a member of the legendary Bob Crosby's Bobcats. Her mother was a talk show hostess in Montgomery, Alabama.
Dragon's father was the legendary conductor, Carmen Dragon.
Tennille has also worked as a session singer (most frequently partnered with Beach Boy Bruce Johnston), performing backup on no less than three Elton John albums including "Caribou," "Blue Moves," and "21 At 33" (some vocally arranged by Dragon) and most notably (and prominently) on the classic "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me." She also appeared as a backup 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.
On the TV show MXC, the character "Captain Tenneal" is a spoof of the name of their act.
- Official site (http://www.captainandtennille.net)
- Toni Tennille's site (http://tonitennille.net)
- 1975 singles (http://www.superseventies.com/1975_1singles.html)