Daryl “The Captain” Dragon has died. The male half of the popular 1970s pop duo The Captain & Tennille passed away of renal failure at a hospice in Prescott, Arizona, according to a report by Fox News. Dragon, who was 76-years-old, died with his ex-wife and longtime musical partner, Toni Tennille, by his side.
Tennille, 78, told the Associated Press that her ex-husband was beloved by many fans and friends.
“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.”
Daryl Dragon was a classically trained musician who started his career playing keyboard for The Beach Boys. He earned the nickname “Captain” by Beach Boys singer Mike Love because he often wore a captain’s hat while performing with the band.
After Dragon met Toni Tennille, the two began performing together and formed The Captain & Tennille. The couple married and shot to fame in 1975 with their breakout cover of Neil Sedaka’s “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Other 1970s hits included the songs “Muskrat Love” and “Shop Around,” and the couple even scored a short-lived TV variety show in 1976 during the height of their fame as a soft pop power couple.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 3, 2019
But love couldn’t keep Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille together. In 2014 the Grammy-winning pair divorced after 39 years of marriage. Toni Tennille wrote about the couple’s private life in her self-titled 2016 memoir, which was excerpted by People. While Tennille wrote that the Captain “was the one,” she admitted there was a major disconnect in their love life.
“It was never tender, it was never emotional, it was never a joining of two hearts. Sex is not love. That’s why I eventually said, ‘To heck with this,'” the singer wrote.
Toni Tennille also revealed that her keyboard playing husband was emotionally distant and that she tried to reach out to him through her lyrics with songs like “Do That to Me One More Time” and “The Way I Want to Touch You.”
“I felt that he just didn’t know what love was. I thought if I showed him what it was, if I were able to give it to him, that he would open up like a flower. It never happened.”
When Toni Tennille finally filed for divorce from Daryl Dragon, the keyboardist admitted to TMZ that he was blindsided.
“I don’t know why she filed,” Dragon said. ” I gotta figure it out for myself first.”
Toni Tennille later wrote in a blog post that the couple put on a front for the public but she stressed that there was no infidelity or wild behavior.
“There was nothing obvious about our marriage that would have made great fodder for the tabloids,” Tennille wrote. “It is just that our music was the ONLY thing that bound us together. Other than that, we simply could not find our way into each other’s heart,” she added.
Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille’s divorce was ultimately amicable and Tennille even moved to Arizona to help care for her ailing ex-husband before his death.
You can see The Captain & Tennille performing their hit song in 1975 below.