Daryl Dragon, the first half of The Captain and Tennille, whose "sunshine pop" made them one of the best-known acts of the '70s, died today (Monday). The keyboardist and arranger was 76.
With Daryl on keyboards backing his wife Toni Tennille's sultry voice, they burst onto the scene in 1975 with their version of Neil Sedaka's "Love Will Keep Us Together." They built momentum on the self-written follow-up "The Way I Want to Touch You" and a keyboard-powered cover of The Miracles' "Shop Around." They also landed an ABC network variety series before the hits halted as the '80s began.
Daryl told us he took the nickname "Captain Keyboard" while a member of The Beach Boys' tour band because of the naval captain's cap he wore on stage to cover his thinning hairline. So when he and Toni teamed up on their own, they naturally became The Captain and Tennille.
The sunshine went out of their life together in recent years. A neurological problem ended Dragon's performing career, and Toni revealed in her memoir that theirs was a loveless marriage, in which Dragon chose not to have children.
But even after their divorce, Toni oversaw Daryl's medical care, and according to her publicist Harlan Boll, was at his side when he died.