Daryl Dragon, who served as one-half of the popular music duo Captain and Tennille in the ’70s, died Wednesday at a hospice in Prescott, Ariz., his publicist said. The cause of the death was renal failure. He was 76.
Toni Tennille, his ex-wife and partner in the duo, was there with him, as she had been for decades.
“He was a brilliant musician with many friends who loved him greatly, Tennille said in a statement. “I was at my most creative in my life, when I was with him.”
Dragon was a classically trained pianist who worked a keyboardist for the Beach Boys in the late ’60s and early 1970s. The band’s Mike Love was the source of his nautical nickname, because of the type of hats he often wore onstage.
Dragon met Tennille when she hired him for a stage show she was doing. He then recommended her to the Beach Boys, and the couple got together after she joined the band on the road. She and Dragon would sometimes perform together in side gigs. They hit the big time in 1975 with their cover of Neil Sedaka’s song “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which went on to win the 1975 Grammy for Record of the Year. Later, songs such as “Muskrat Love” and “Do That to Me One More Time” would also go on to make the radio charts and become staples of soft rock radio.
Dragon and Tennille married in 1975. A year later, they starred in a popular variety show for ABC. Dragon, who barely uttered a word onscreen, was reportedly uncomfortable in front of the cameras, leading to the series’ cancellation in 1977 after one season; instead of weekly shows, the network decided to bring back the duo for a series of specials.
The couple decided to split in 2014, but they remained close over the years, and she reportedly moved to Arizona to take care of him.
Tennille revealed on her blog in 2010 that Dragon had a neurological condition that sometimes affected his ability to perform.
In February 2017, Dragon told People that his health was improving, in part thanks to Tennille, after caregivers had given him the wrong dosage of the medications he had been prescribed.
Dragon is survived by his brother, Doug Dragon, and nieces Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn.
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