Daryl Dragon -- best known as "The Captain" as part of the hit-making '70s and '80s duo Captain & Tennille -- died on Wednesday (January 2nd) of renal failure at a hospice in Prescott, Arizona. The Associated Press reported his former-wife Toni Tennille was at his side. Dragon had been suffering in recent years from a neurological disorder similar to Parkinson's. The famed couple divorced in 2014, but in recent years, Tennille had moved back to Arizona to care for Dragon.
Toni Tennille said in a statement: "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." In addition to Tennille, Dragon is survived by his older brother, Doug Dragon, and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn.
Captain & Tennille will always be remembered for their nine Top 40 hits between 1975 and 1979, starting out of the gate with their chart-topping version of the Neil Sedaka -- Howie Greenfieldtune, "Love Will Keep Us Together" -- followed by such pop favorites as "The Way I Want To Touch You" (#4), "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" (#3), "Shop Around" (#4), "Muskrat Love" (#4), "You Never Don It Like That" (#10), and the 1979 Number One hit "Do That To Me One More Time."
From September 1976 to March 1977 the duo starred in the own ABC variety show, The Captain And Tennille, but were asked to be let out of their contract after only one season to get back to recording and touring.
Dragon's father was the esteemed conductor, composer, and arranger Carmen Dragon. Between 1967 and 1973, Daryl Dragon made his bones playing keyboards and doing occasional orchestrations for the Beach Boys, where he first was named "Captain Keyboard" by Mike Love due to his fondness for captain's hats. He struck up a professional relationship with Dennis Wilson, releasing a 1970 single as a duo -- Dennis Wilson & Rumbo, before co-writing and orchestrating such signature Wilson songs as "Cuddle Up" and "Make It Good." All told, Dragon performed on such classic Beach Boys albums as 1970's Sunflower, 1971's Surf's Up, 1972's Carl & The Passions - So Tough, and the 1973 double shot of Holland and The Beach Boys In Concert. Toni Tennille actually toured with the Beach Boys playing keyboards on a handful of dates around that time and holds the distinction of being the sole "Beach Girl" to ever tour as part of the band.
In the late 1990's, Dragon joined forces with the Beach Boy Al Jardine and Brian Wilson's daughters Carnie and Wendy Wilson for the short-lived touring revue Beach Boys Family & Friends.