January 22, 2014, - 7:26 pm

NOOOOO! Love Didn’t Keep Them Together – Captain & Tennille Divorcing

By Debbie Schlussel


Sadly, love won’t keep them together.


As I’ve noted before on this site, I really like the song, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” the Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield song which “The Captain & Tennille” turned into a huge hit in 1975. And I’ve written about my admiration for Toni Tennille, who was always classy, glamorous, and had (probably still has) a beautiful singing voice. She made it in showbiz without whoring herself out and acting slutty–the way most female pop singers make it today. Well, it’s sad news that, today, Cathryn Antoinette “Toni” Tennille filed for divorce from “Captain” Daryl Dragon (some websites claim Dragon is Jewish, in case you were wondering).

Well, they lasted nearly 40 years (they married on Veterans Day 1974). That’s a long time. They are both now in their 70s. But you think that if a couple has been together that long, they’d want to spend their last years together. Apparently not in this case. But it seems cruel here that Tennille filed from divorce from her husband even though he is afflicted with a very serious and debilitating illness. Nobody knows what really goes on inside a marriage, but to leave your husband of 40 years when he needs you most seems cruel to me. Maybe Tennille wasn’t as classy as I thought.

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It’s over for Toni Tennille and Daryl Dragon. The singing duo of Captain & Tennille are headed for divorce. According to paperwork obtained by ABC News, Tennille, 73, filed for divorce from Dragon, 71, in Arizona on Jan. 16. The couple had been married for nearly 40 years.

In the 70s, Tennille and Dragon toured with the Beach Boys, for whom Dragon played the keyboard. (It was Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love who reportedly gave him the nickname “Captain.”) Together, they released a number of hits, including “Love Will Keep Us Together,” “Do That To Me One More Time” and “Muskrat Love.” They also had a TV variety series on ABC.

In 2010, Tennille announced on her blog that Dragon had a neurological disorder similar to Parkinson’s and was no longer able to play music as well as he had.

“[His condition] causes him to have tremors…pretty severe at times,” she wrote. “Some days he does pretty well…. other days his playing is severely compromised.”

Very sad.

I’ll still always love the song, including the heavy metal covers of it, which are on my iPod workout music along with the Captain & Tennille version. I also like the Lazlo Bane version, below, and the Bi-Phonic version.

**** UPDATE: Some readers and commenters here and on my posts on this on social media say this may be for health insurance/financial reasons. Maybe. Maybe not. Check out this news from TMZ:

According to the divorce docs, obtained by TMZ, there’s special mention about health insurance coverage, and that seems relevant, because in 2009 Toni blogged that Daryl had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In 2011 Toni updated the message, saying Daryl’s tremors were so bad he was embarrassed to go out in public … to restaurants, the movies, etc.

Here’s what’s unclear — whether it’s possible Toni really filed for health insurance reasons … whether his coverage might be better if they were divorced.

The blog has an update on Jan 16, 2014, saying “The Captain & Tennille appeared to the public as them being the ideal model for a ‘rock-solid’ married pair. But almost all people naturally evolve over time, & sometimes hidden feelings start to be uncovered …”

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27 Responses

I had a thought on this, considering their ages & his health, they could be divorcing for financial reasons. I’ve known of people splitting and/or selling/gifting assets’ in order to qualify as indigent. They were usually poorer and fewer assets, but it does happen

autdrew on January 22, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Time takes no prisoners. Very sad.

Frankz on January 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm

It is out of character that she would leave especially since she has dealt w the Captain’s eye disease, the reason for wearing shades.

She has good character. Leaving him now is not believable. Sorry.

Darrell L. Hicks on January 22, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Ouch! ‘dat hoit’ Frankz.

But the truth you speak.

#1 VATO on January 23, 2014 at 12:40 am

I think it’s financial. When I was looking for a lawyer to file my SSDI claim, one told me to divorce my husband so I’d get more. He said you can do anything you want privately but make it a legal condition. This was about 10 years ago and I found that unacceptable. It is fraud if we continued to live together. So, I didn’t file and a couple of years later in a different city, I found a Jewish lawyer who took my case to a Jewish Social Security judge and won my cast. FTR, it is virtually impossible to get SSDI the first time around on one’s own. It requires an attorney and I was happy to pay the 30% fee on contingency because there were many years of back pay owed me.

Meira on January 23, 2014 at 12:41 am

    *won my casE

    Meira on January 23, 2014 at 12:42 am

Given the huge increases in premiums, etc… under Obamacare, and face it, these two aren’t raking it in any more, especially will have hard time with such an expensive illness. I can’t assume she’s dumping him like this out of the blue, let’s give it some time to see. I’ll bet this is a move to try to get more affordable insurance rates for him.

Mary on January 23, 2014 at 2:52 am

I suspect that it is financial. At their ages, why bother divorcing? Tennille could also have reached the end of her rope, if Captain had sunk into dementia or some similar disorder.

Worry01 on January 23, 2014 at 5:07 am

It is a shame that, with this news, there’s been a lot of bad puns based on the titles of various songs for which they were famous. A few quotes (I will leave out some of the more tasteless; punctuation and capitalization printed verbatim):
– “Toni Tennille must have some Muskrat Love going on the side…”
– “Muskrat Suzie has had enough of muskrat Sam.”
– “Well, The Captain may have Never Done It Like That, but Toni definitely doesn’t want him to Do That To Her One More Time!!!!”

ConcernedPatriot on January 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

I hope it is only financial and not a real divorce, as in “I no longer love you.” Illness is not the worst thing a married couple have to work through. For a 70 year old to leave at this point in their marriage does not say much for her, unless she had endured many hard years from him and decided she would not help someone who had mistreated her in some way.Still, it is sad. I’ve been married 42 years and could not even imagine divorcing my husband at this point for any reason.

Janis on January 23, 2014 at 8:26 am

I have always liked the two of them, and am sorry that they are getting a divorce. “Love Will Keep Us Together” was a great song, and it brings back happy memories!

Jean on January 23, 2014 at 9:14 am

Sorry, but Daryl Dragon is not Jewish unless his mother, Eloise, is. His father was Carmen Dragon, a well known conductor who started with Meredith Wilson and made many appearances at the Hollywood Bowl. He also has an extensive discography of movie sound tracks. How many Jewish men are named “Carmen.” I can claim him either way but them’s the facts: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0236740/bio

M: Several websites on Jewish musicians claimed he was Jewish. It may not be accurate, though, as you point out. However, look up the name “Carmen Warschaw.” She’s not a man, but she was a Jew. You can’t always go by the name. DS

Meira on January 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

    True Deb, but I grew up when Carmen was popular as an orchestra conductor and it was known that he was Italian. Carmen for a man is almost always an Italian name, sometimes it’s Carmine. There was a vogue for Spanish names back in the 20’s and 30’s. It’s possible that Eloise was Jewish. not much on her but she was a soprano and I’ll look up her maiden name because it’s slipped my mind.

    Meira on January 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Found it. Eloise Marion Rawitzer, which could or could not be Jewish. but all the kids were talented musicians as were the parents.

      Meira on January 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm

It could also be by pre-arrangement that his disease would be come so bad that he no longer knew his wife in any form and in love told her to cut loose when that happened because he really was no longer there.

Jonathan Gartner on January 23, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I was thinking the same thing a little while ago. Even tho she’s in her 70’s to be legally tied to someone who doesn’t know who she is would be terrible. Also, joint assets could be a problem even with a power of attorney.

    Meira on January 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Who knows, this may be to protect their assets from creditors due to enormous medical bills or for insurance reasons. She probably is by his side but finds it necessary legally to do this.

cj on January 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I do not believe Toni is REALLY leaving her husband. I believe that it is very likely to protect assets because she most likely will survive him by many years, and if Obozo has his way, if they stay married he will eat up their assets to keep Captain alive. Since she continues to perform, she has some income, and likely has everything in her name. As indigent, Captain will get free/low cost medical care. It is a pity that she has to do this. In any case, I know in my heart that there is STILL love there, as she is STILL by his side. God bless them both, and may things work out for them.

trish on January 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm

“Love Will Keep Us Together” was a great song. “Muskrat Love”, however, had to be one of the WORST songs ever!

Jeff on January 23, 2014 at 2:35 pm

It seems to have caught the Captain by surprise, judging from his comments.

JeffT on January 23, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I live in Arizona, work in the legal field, and checked with an attorney who works in estate planning and such like. She said that it was unlikely that such a move would benefit her husband, as it’s a community property state and he would get half of their estate, or $5 million of their estimated $10 million. It would take a good while to burn through that much money even at a high level of care. Plus he has Medicare.

The attorney thought that this was a move to protect Toni’s half, as that’s the only scenario that made sense.

Some blog sites in early 2013 indicated that there were significant relationship issues a year ago, the big house was up for sale, (it was sold), and Toni had taken up with someone else, and had moved out. It appeared that the stories came from people with firsthand knowledge in Prescott.

The other person, who was a good friend of the couple, or should I say was, was named and shown in photos, too. The person appeared to be about 15 yrs younger.

Iron Viking on January 24, 2014 at 4:19 am

I’m sure over time we will find out why .

William on January 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Christ, what are you, 67 years of age? Pining for the good ol’ days?

Howard Felt DDS on January 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm

In another article I read about them. The reason she gave for filing for divorce is that he would continue to distance himself from her shtting her out of his life. Leaving her to feel alone and lonely even though they were in the same house. He had conspricy thories about the government which drove her crazy. many hears of emotional abuse, until she felt she had had enough and filed for divorce. She in the article says that she is finally happy again. It never works if there is only one person participating in a marriage.

Carol on March 17, 2016 at 11:02 am

Yes, its truly sad that a 40 year union of two people so symbolic of an era is disipated.Who is to say what transpired within the confines of their home over such a long period.Regardless of the split they willalways be the captain and Tenille.As for Daryls question of newishness, I think its more than likely nuding from the mothers maiden name Rawitzer, that He is newish, this is an Ashkenazi german name, also the fact that his Dads name was Carmen does not present a case for “jew or not? Eric Carmen “though it is his last name he is hewish! Im sure there are several sephardics named Carmen.

Greg Schaller on March 27, 2016 at 7:50 pm

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