Captain & Tennille: Love Kept Them Together For 39 Years, Why The Divorce Now?

The Captain and Tennille, whose greatest hit song was “Love Will Keep Us Together,” are divorcing after nearly 39 years of marriage, according to information released by a court in Arizona.

Daryl Dragon, 71, better known as ‘The Captain,” and Cathryn Antoinette “Toni” Tennille, 73, filed divorce papers in Prescott, Arizona, last week. It appears that it is Tenille who is the one looking for the divorce.

By the standards of the entertainment industry, 39 years together is an extraordinary achievement. In the US, the average time together of couples seeking divorce is seven years. Some 45 percent of all marriages end in divorce, but the figure for celebrities is much higher.

So, the question has to be: Why now?

The couple have no children; could living together in retirement have been a factor? Doubtless the details will emerge in due course.

The couple first met in 1972, when Toni Tennille was the co-writer of a musical called Mother Earth. At that time, Daryl Dragon (son of composer Carmen Dragon) was a keyboardist for The Beach Boys.

Tennille’s show had to move from San Francisco and they needed a replacement keyboardist. Dragon heard about the opening, met Tennille to audition, and landed the gig.

Later, Tenille was able to return the favor when The Beach Boys needed an additional keyboardist, and they hired her. She toured with them for a year, and Toni Tennille has since been dubbed The Beach Boys’ only “Beach Girl.”

The couple discovered a mutual attraction, as well as a shared interest in performing, and they started to work together. In 1974, they were discovered by Neil Sedaka, and released their first album the same year.

The Captain married Tenille in 1975; co-incidentally, they produced the biggest chart hit of that year with the the Neil Sedaka love song “Love Will Keep Us Together.” They followed this up with a string of hits in 1970s, including “Lonely Night (Angel Face),” “Muskrat Love” and, “Shop Around.” In total they sold more than 23 million albums.

For a short time, they also hosted their own TV program, “The Captain and Tennille Show,” Of course, Dragon, as “The Captain,” always wore his trademark captain’s hat.

In 1979 they had their final massive hit with “Do That to Me One More Time,” which reached No. 1 on the pop charts in 1979.

The Captain and Tennille lived in the Lake Tahoe area in Nevada, and Palm Springs, California for a dozen years or so before building a house in Prescott, Arizona, where they retired.