Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Daryl Dragon Of Captain & Tennille Fame Dies At 76
Daryl Dragon, best known as "Captain" of the successful pop duo Captain & Tennille, died of renal failure on Jan. 2 at a hospice in Prescott, Ariz. Toni Tennille, his former wife and partner musical, was by his side. Dragon was 76 years old.
Dragon was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 27, 1942, into a musical family. His father was an Academy Award-winning composer and conductor, and his mother was singer who worked with Bing Crosby and sang on many recordings. Dragon was a classically trained pianist and got his start as keyboard player for the Beach Boys in late '60s and early '70s. The band's singer/songwriter and co-founder, Mike Lowe, gave Dragon the nickname of "Captain" because of the sailor's hat he liked to wear on stage.
In 1971, Dragon met Tennille, who also joined the Beach Boys. The two developed a deeper romantic and musical relationship on tour and began to perform together as a duo. They signed with A&M Records in 1974 after landing a hit with "The Way I Want To Touch You." Later that year, their recording of the Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield-written "Love Will Keep Us Together" hit No. 1 and went on to won the GRAMMY for Record Of The Year for the 18th GRAMMY Awards.
The duo followed up with hits such as "Muskrat Love," "Shop Around, and the No. 1 "Do That To Me One More Time," which was written by Tennille. Dragon and Tennille were married from 1975 to 2014 and remained friends up until Dragon's death.
"He was a brilliant musician with many friends who loved him greatly. I was at my most creative in my life, when I was with him," Tennille said.
"Daryl Dragon was an accomplished producer and pianist best known for creating several chart-topping songs in the 1970s as a member of Captain & Tennille with his wife, singer Toni Tennille," Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said in a statement. "He was a two-time GRAMMY® winner, earning awards as artist and producer in the Record Of The Year category for the duo's 'Love Will Keep Us Together' at the 18th GRAMMY Awards. Prior to his Captain & Tennille success, Daryl performed as a backup musician for the Beach Boys. He will be missed by family, friends, and fans."
Dragon is survived by his older brother, Doug, and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn. At Dragon's request, no services are scheduled.