“Captain” Daryl Dragon has died. He was 76. The late musician is pictured here with ex-wife Toni Tennille in 2005.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images, File)
Daryl Dragon, the cap-wearing “Captain” of pop band The Captain and Tennille, has died. He was 76.
Dragon passed away on Wednesday of renal failure at a hospice in Prescott, Arizona, according to spokesman Harlan Boll, as The Associated Press reports. Toni Tennille, Dragon’s ex-wife and longtime musical partner, was by his side.
“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 in a statement to Fox News.
Dragon was born on August 27, 1942, in Los Angeles. He came from a musical family with his father, Carmen, winning an Academy Award as a composer and conductor, and his mother, Eloise, a singer who worked on Bing Crosby recordings among others, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In 1967, Dragon — a classically trained musician — started playing keyboard for The Beach Boys, which led to him being given the nickname “Captain” by lead singer Mike Love because of his affinity for wearing a captain’s hat while on stage.
Four years later, Dragon met Tennille, and the pair soon began performing together, with Tennille singing and Dragon on keyboards — he also later served as a producer for The Captain and Tennille.
The duo went on to top the 1970s music charts with hits including “Muskrat Love,” “Shop Around” and “Love Will Keep Us Together.”
“Love Will Keep Us Together” catapulted the couple to fame with their breakthrough coming in 1975 when they covered the Neil Sedaka-Howard Greenfield song, which Sedaka himself recorded in 1973 and been released as a single in Europe.
The Captain and Tennille version topped the charts — and acknowledged Sedaka’s authorship by singing “Sedaka’s back” at the end of the song — and won a Grammy for record of the year.
They followed with a mix of covers such as “Muskrat Love” and “Shop Around” and original songs, including Tennille’s “Do That to Me One More Time,” which hit No. 1 in 1980. They also briefly starred in their own television variety show.
Dragon and Tennille divorced in 2014 after nearly 40 years of marriage, but they remained close and Tennille had moved back to Arizona to help care for him.
He is survived by his older brother, Doug Dragon, and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.