Daryl Dragon, the cap-wearing “Captain” of Captain & Tennille who teamed with then-wife Toni Tennille on such easy-listening hits as “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “Muskrat Love,” died Jan. 2 at a hospice center in Prescott, Ariz. He was 76.
The cause was renal failure, said spokesman Harlan Boll. Tennille was by his side.
“He was an excellent musician with many friends who loved him greatly. I was at my most artistic in my life when I was with him,” Tennille said in a statement. After nearly 40 years of marriage, Mr. Dragon and Tennille divorced in 2014, but they remained close. Tennille had touched back to Arizona to assist look after him.
Mr. Dragon and Tennille met in the early 1970s and soon began performing together, with the ever-smiling Tennille singing and the dourer Mr. Dragon on keyboards. He would later function as Captain & Tennille’s producer.
Their breakthrough came in 1975 when they covered the bouncy Neil Sedaka-Howard Greenfield song “Love Will Keep Us Together.”
Video Source:Love Will Keep Us Together
Sedaka and Greenfield, a top hitmaking team in the late 1950s and early sixties, were nearing the end of their partnership and had written “Love Will Keep Us Together” as an ode to their longtime bond. Sedaka himself recorded the song, discharged it as one in France and enclosed it on his 1974 album “Sedaka’s back.”
Captain & Tennille’s version, slightly faster and funkier than the original, wasn’t Mr. Dragon’s first choice as a single. He had favored a canopy of Beach Boy Bruce Johnston’s “I Write the Songs,” which in 1976 became a signature hit for Barry Manilow.
But “Love Will Keep Us Together” surmounted the charts in the summer of 1975. It earned a Grammy for record of the year and not only made Captain & Tennille stars but helped further revive Sedaka’s career. In 1975 October, his single “Bad Blood” hit No. 1. Mr. Dragon was really ‘a great musician, keyboard player, and friend for more than 40 years, Sedaka tweeted Wednesday. He took ‘Love Will Keep Us Together,’ created it his own with the magic of his playing and her incredible voice.’