Toni Tennille

Toni Tennille

Toni Tennille 1976

Toni Tennille in 1976
Background information
Birth name Cathryn Antoinette Tennille
Born (1940-05-08) May 8, 1940
Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Associated acts Captain & Tennille

Cathryn Antoinette "Toni" Tennille[1] (born May 8, 1940) is an American singer-songwriter and keyboardist, best known as one-half of the 1970s duo Captain & Tennille with her former husband Daryl Dragon; their signature song being "Love Will Keep Us Together".[2][3] Tennille has also done musical work independently of her husband, including solo albums and session work. Tennille has a contralto vocal range, spanning over 2 and a half octaves.[4]

Early life

Tennille was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama and has three younger sisters.[5]:2 Her father Frank owned a furniture store and also served in the Alabama Legislature from 1951 to 1954.[5]:2 He had been a singer with Bob Crosby's Bob-Cats. Her mother Cathryn hosted a local television show.[1][6]

Tennille graduated from Sidney Lanier High School then attended Auburn University in Alabama for two years[1] where she studied classical piano and sang with the university's big band, the Auburn Knights.

In 1959, Tenille's family moved to from Montgomery to Balboa, California where Tenille worked first as a file clerk and then as a statistical analyst for North American Rockwell Corporation.[5]:2


While living in Corona del Mar in Newport Beach, California during the late 1960s, Tenille was a member of the South Coast Repertory. Ron Thronsen, one of the directors of the reporatory, asked Tenille in 1969 to write the music for a new rock musical he was working on called Mother Earth. The musical was a success locally, went on the road to San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1971 and eventually made it to Broadway for a few dates at the Belasco Theatre in October 1972. Although Tenille was no longer associated with the musical by the time it reached Broadway, she was credited as the composer under her married name Shearer.[7][8][9][10]

In 1971 Tenille met her future husband Dragon during auditions in San Francisco for band members for the musical.[7] Dragon had previously toured with The Beach Boys and had appeared on a couple of their albums as a back up musician. After Mother Earth ended, Dragon returned to The Beach Boys and introduced Tenille to the band.[8] Tenille played electric piano with the band during their 1972 tour.[6] In 1973, Tenille and Dragon left to form Captain & Tennille and began performing at local clubs. The two released their self-financed debut single "The Way I Want to Touch You" in September 1973, which was a success locally and helped them to get a record contract from A&M records. The duo recorded a cover version of the Neil Sedaka song "Love Will Keep Us Together" in 1975 that became a huge success and eventually went on to win the 1975 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.[8][11]

In 1974, Tennile sang background vocals on Elton John's Caribou album.[6] She also sang background vocals on Pink Floyd's The Wall in 1979.[12][13]

On July 8, 1980, Tennille sang the national anthem at the Major League Baseball All-Star game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.[14]

From September 1998 to June 1999, Tennille performed as "Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinski" in the national tour of the play Victor Victoria.[15]

In April 2016, Tennille released her memoir and went on a book tour to promote it later that summer.[16][17] An 'audiobook' of the memoir was also released on the audiobook service Audible.[18]

Personal life

Tennille is 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) tall. She married her first husband Kenneth Shearer in June 1962 at the age of 22.[6] They divorced in late 1972. She then married Daryl Dragon on November 11, 1975. The couple moved from Reno, Nevada to Prescott, Arizona in 2007. Tennille filed for divorce after 39 years of marriage on January 16, 2014. Dragon said he was unaware of any discontent until being served with the divorce papers.[19] The divorce was finalized in July, 2014.

In 2015, Tennille moved to Florida at the suggestion of her sister, Jane.[20] During the promotion of her autobiography, on The Today Show in the spring of 2016, Tennille said the reason for their divorce was Dragon's "inability to be affectionate".[21] However, she later inferred that Daryl reacted positively to her memoir and the reveal; he said "I saw you on The Today Show. I was proud of you".[22]


Studio albums



  1. 1 2 3 "Toni recalls days in Alabama". The Gadsden Times. Associated Press. August 4, 1980. Retrieved October 20, 2016 via Google News.
  2. "An MP misses a 'million-dollar' photo op, and 'Captain' Dragon and Toni Tennille call it quits". Maclean's. January 29, 2014.
  3. "Love Will Keep Us Together". Super Seventies.
  4. "Captain & Tennille - News / Latest & Archived". Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Herman, Jan (April 10, 1988). "Toni Tennille: No Hits but 'Always Sold Out'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2016. In fact, her two latest albums--"More Than You Know" (1984) and "All of Me" (1987)--feature jazz-oriented renditions of Tin Pan Alley tunes from the '30s and '40s.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Windeler, Robert (October 18, 1976). "Year of the Dragons". People. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  7. 1 2 Smith, Mark Chalon (September 15, 1998). "Touring Is Such a Drag". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  8. 1 2 3 "Artists: Captain & Tennille". Billboard. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  9. Barret, Lawrence I. (November 6, 1972). "The Theater: Life-Giving Illusion". Time. Retrieved October 21, 2016. (subscription required (help)).
  10. "Mother Earth". Playbill. October 19, 1972. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  11. "1975 - 18th Annual Grammy Awards". The Recording Academy. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  12. "Musicians (Studio)". Pink Floyd. Warner Music UK. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  13. Blake, Mark (2008). Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd. Da Capo Press. pp. 270–271. ISBN 978-0-306-81752-6. Retrieved October 21, 2016 via Google Books.
  14. World's Strangest Baseball Stories. Watermill Press. 1993. p. 42. ISBN 0-8167-2933-6.
  15. Lefkowitz, David (August 1, 1998). "Toni Tennille Vic/Vic Tour Announces 1999 Dates". Playbill. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  16. "Captain and Tennille fans enjoy musical memories with singer in Villages". Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  17. Tennille, Toni (23 October 2015). "Toni Tennille: A Memoir". Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  18. "Behind the Scenes with Toni Tennille, Author and Narrator of "Toni Tennille: A Memoir"". Audible. 4 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016. Go into the studio with Toni Tennille as she performs her memoir and shares stories of her life in music. Learn more at
  19. "Captain & Tennille Divorce -- Love WON'T Keep Us Together". January 22, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  20. Blog, Toni Tennille, Accessed October 7, 2015.
  21. "Toni Tennille Reveals Personal Reason Why She Divorced Daryl Dragon", 24 April 2016.
  22. Tennille, Toni (7 May 2016). "TONI TENNILLE! Love Will Keep Us Together! Creative Arts Emmys 2016". LGBT Hollywood. Retrieved 11 May 2016. But I do know this... He said "I saw you on The Today Show. I was proud of you". And Caroline was with me in the back of the car and we both kinda teared up a bit. He is proud of me, and he's proud of the music
  23. Giuliano, Mike (May 17, 1994). "Now Tennille looks to big-band era for love songs". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 22, 2016. With several big band albums to her credit, including the just-released 'Things Are Swingin (...)
  24. "Toni, Toni, Toni". Las Vegas Sun. April 6, 2001. Retrieved October 22, 2016. 'Incurably Romantic,' her latest CD, featuring old love-song standards written by artists such as the Gershwins and Sammy Cahn, is scheduled for release in May.
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