Daryl Dragon, the 'Captain' of '70s duo Captain & Tennille, dies at 76

Daryl Dragon, the hat-wearing musician familiar to 1970s music fans as half of the bestselling duo the Captain & Tennille, died Tuesday in Prescott, Arizona at age 76.

Dragon’s ex-wife, Toni Tennille, “was with him as he took his last breath,” said Harlon Boll, a spokesperson for the singer. In a statement, Tennille said, “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.”

Dragon died of renal failure, according to Boll.

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Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille
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Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille
American ***** 'Captain & Tennille' Flow into Sydney the Morning. ***** Toni Tennille is on her ***** To Australia, Her Husband, Daryl (Captain) Dragon ***** 1970 during the Branch Bong Tone. The Famous Duo ***** at the Hilton International Form June 16th to 22nd. June 11, 1982. (Photo by Trevor James Robert Dallen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
LAS VEGAS - JULY 27: 'Captain' Daryl Dragon and his wife Toni Tennille of the music duo The Captain and Tennille, pose at the Video Software Dealers Association's annual home video convention at the Bellagio July 27, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. They are promoting a Christmas album entitled 'Saving Up Christmas' and a DVD box set that will each be released October 11, 2005. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Musician Daryl Dragon of Captain and Tennille attends the Taping of the 4th Installment of the Television Competition Special 'Battle of the Network Stars' on April 1, 1978 at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - 1980: Singers Toni Tennille and Daryl Dragon of the Duo Captain and Tennille pose for a portrait in 1980 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Musicians Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille of Captain and Tennille on February 29, 1976 sighting at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Musicians Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille of Captain and Tennille attend the 70th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 1996 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Musicians Toni Tennille and Daryl Dragon of Captain and Tennille attend the 'A Gift of Music' LA Bicentennial Tribute to Men & Women of Acheivement on April 25, 1981 at Metromedia Square in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Singers Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille of Captain and Tennille attending 'A Gift of Music Bicentennial Tribute to Men and Women of Achievement' on April 25, 1981 at Metromedia Square in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Daryl Dragon (The Captain & Tenille) at the 1996 NATPE Convention at Sands Hotel Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
1980 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS - Show Coverage - Airdate: January 18, 1980. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) DARYL DRAGON OF CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2001 file photo, Toni Tennille and husband Daryl Dragon, of the singing duo the Captain & Tennille, appear in New York. Tennille has written a memoir, “Toni Tennille," which details her relationship with Dragon. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg, File)
Singer-songwriter Kenny Rogers, second from right, holds his award for his winning single, “Lucille,” which was named the favorite country single at the American Music Awards show, Jan. 17, 1978 in Santa Monica, Ca. With him, from left, are husband and wife singing duo Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille, also known as the Captain and Tennille, and at far right is Bob Keeshan, better known as Captain Kangaroo. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
FILE - In this Feb. 28, 1976 file photo, Daryl Dragon and his wife Toni Tennille, of the Captain & Tennille, hold the Grammy award they won for record of the year for "Love Will Keep Us Together," at the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Dragon died early Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 in at a hospice in Prescott, Ariz. Spokesman Harlan Boll said he was 76 and died of renal failure. His former wife and musical partner, Toni Tennille, was by his side. (AP Photo, FIle)
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“Love Will Keep Us Together,” the title track from the duo’s 1975 debut album, reached No. 1 in July of 1975 and won the top Record of the Year prize at the following year’s Grammy Awards. “Do That to Me One More Time,” the last of their big hits, also reached the top of the chart, in 1979. In the interval, the Captain & Tennille reached the top 10 with “Muskrat Love,” “The Way I Want to Touch You,” “Lonely Night (Angel Face)” and “Shop Around.”

His stage moniker was said to have been coined by Mike Love during the late ’60s and early ’70s period when Dragon was a keyboard player for the Beach Boys; the perennial captain’s hat followed to cement the persona.

The duo’s variety show ran for one season on ABC and was followed by a series of annual specials. Dragon, who was virtually a silent partner in the duo, was said to be uncomfortable being on television, which contributed to the demise of their well-viewed series in 1977.

Dragon and Tennille divorced in 2014, after being married for 39 years. Tennille released her memoir in 2016, and in an interview with People magazine about his medical condition in 2017, Dragon said he was working on an autobiography and “I am hoping I will have as much success with my own.”

Tennille’s spokesperson said “they remained in constant contact and were dear friends to the end… Toni has asked that all of Daryl’s many fans remember him as she does, with love and a grateful heart for the music they created together.”

Dragon is survived by a brother, Doug Dragon, and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn. Per Tennille’s spokesperson, Dragon had asked that there be no services.

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