I’ve done some work with Toni Tennille, helping with the promotion and management of her memoir as well as some general consultancy and publishing guidance. I did have a previous connection: Toni is Caroline’s aunt, which makes Daryl Dragon (‘The Captain’) her uncle. And, technically, my uncle (or uncle-in-law).
I never met Daryl but had an email exchange with him several years ago. He was curious about the status of some C&T compositions and wanted help investigating publishing and master rights, with the hope of exploiting selections from the catalog. Daryl sent me this detailed email — one of the most meticulous I have ever received. He listed all of the songs in question — dozens — separated by genre, style, and era, with codes designating where each was released, if it was a
Also, The Captain started one of his emails to me with “Ahoy, Michael!” That was pretty cool.
One thing that I always found fascinating about Captain & Tennille is that they owned their publishing from the beginning. It is rare for songwriters signing with major labels to keep their publishing rights, and even rarer to do this in the early ‘70s. Another bold move was Daryl’s decision to open a recording studio, Rumbo Recorders, in 1979. Whatever preconceptions you might have about Captain & Tennille know that Daryl and Toni had the foresight and an independent spirit that eludes many ‘superstar’ artists.
Daryl Dragon passed away yesterday at the age of 76. Toni was with him and, though their relationship was troubled and they divorced, the two remained close. It was sweet how encouraging and at ease Daryl was with Toni’s memoir, which some found explosive in how it addressed their personal history. Right before the book came out, I was in a car with Toni and ‘The Captain’ called. Toni put him on speakerphone, and it was fun to hear their interaction, two close friends catching up.
Toni once told me that Daryl had a massive love for music technology and synthesizers. She said that if he could just play around with synthesizers all day, then he’d be happy. So, in tribute, I’m posting this video from the 1978 TV special Captain & Tennille in Hawaii. I think it shows Daryl Dragon truly in his element.
P.S. I bet you didn’t know that Daryl (and his brothers) have a rad psych album out on Ninjatune.