He was a keyboard pioneer in rock music, as he brought synthesizers and electric pianos to AM pop radio. His wife was an amazing singer whose voice paired well with his keyboards. And whether they were singing Motown classics, Neil Sedaka tracks, or their own compositions, the Captain and Tennille were top 1970’s hitmakers.
Daryl Dragon passed away yesterday from kidney failure; he was 76 years old.
And on this edition of K-Chuck Radio, I want to take you back to the days when the Captain and Tennille would dominate pop radio – to the ponit where they even enjoyed their own variety TV show. So let’s start with…
LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER
Take a listen to Daryl Dragon’s keyboards. This isn’t a full band – that’s him on different organs and synths, with maybe a drum as a backing track. Then add Toni Tennille’s voice and some session singers, and you have the #1 hit of 1975.
THE WAY I WANT TO TOUCH YOU
Interestingly, this was the Captain and Tennille’s first song – it was released on a tiny record label, and when the duo signed to the major A&M Records label, this was eventually released after “Love Will Keep Us Together” and became a Top 5 hit in its own right.
LONELY NIGHT (ANGEL FACE)
Do you ever get the feeling that the Captain and Tennille’s biggest hits were all about sultry, romantic love and lovemaking? It was a formula that worked quite well for them. Seriously.
I’m going to give them a pass for this track. There are some songs that are NOT written with the ability to shift genders. This is one of them.
Would you believe this song actually got banned on some radio stations? Yeah … I guess animals that do what animals normally do may not have been the most radio-friendly track; heck, there are even some music fans that voted this song as the cheeziest pop song of the 1970’s. You know what? It may be cheezy, but it was better than “Shop Around,” IMHO.
YOU NEVER DONE IT LIKE THAT
Wow. Have you heard the lyrics? And this made it to radio? And I thought Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” and Andrea True’s “More, More, More” were the epitome of “get it on” AM top 40 radio… boy was I wrong. And then …
DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME
Then they came back with this track – with Daryl Dragon’s keyboards and Toni Tennille’s soaring vocals – and hit #1 on the pop charts one more time. Wow.
Just a couple of rarities for you…
COMO YO QUIERO SENTIRTE
Yes, their first A&M album was re-recorded as an all-Spanish LP, and this version of “The Way I Want To Touch You” sounds even sexier in Spanish. Even if the background singers are still singing in English…
Hey, here’s a promo for their ABC variety TV series.
Yes, from 1976 to 1977, the Captain and Tennille had their own TV show – it had all the trappings of a standard 70’s variety program, including an appearance – as noted by this promo – of a song by “Kotter’s Kid,” John Travolta (whatever happened to him?). But despite early ratings success, the program was later clobbered in the ratings by other TV shows on other networks, and only lasted 11 weeks.
LOVE ON A SHOESTRING
Not one of their biggest hits … at first … but this track would later appear as a major dance electronic hit by the dance duo Bent as “Magic Love.” You can hear it sampled right here.
The Beach Boys
Before he was one-half of Captain and Tennille, Daryl Dragon was an accomplished producer and arranger, and he worked with the Beach Boys in the 1970’s on several tracks – including this one.
So thank you Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille, thank you for a slew of amazing pop songs and great music. Kinda hard to imagine it being just “and Tennille” these days.