Toni Tennille in 1996
|Cathryn Antoinette Tennille|
|Born||May 8, 1940|
Montgomery, Alabama, United States
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, piano|
|Captain & Tennille|
Cathryn Antoinette "Toni" Tennille (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 is "Love Will Keep Us Together". Tennille has also done musical work independently of her husband, including solo albums and session work.
Tennille was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, and has three younger sisters.:2 Her father Frank owned a furniture store and also served in the Alabama Legislature from 1951 to 1954.:2 He had been a singer with Bob Crosby's Bob-Cats. Her mother, Cathryn, hosted a local television show.
Tennille graduated from Sidney Lanier High School and then for two years attended Auburn University in Alabama, where she studied classical piano and sang with the university's big band, the Auburn Knights.
While living in Corona del Mar in Newport Beach, California, during the late 1960s, Tennille was a member of the South Coast Repertory. Ron Thronsen, one of the directors of the repertory, asked Tennille 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 Tennille was no longer associated with the musical by the time it reached Broadway, she was credited as the composer under her married name, Shearer.
In 1971, Tennille met her future husband Daryl Dragon in San Francisco during auditions for Mother Earth. Dragon had previously toured with The Beach Boys and had recorded with them as a studio musician. After Mother Earth ended, Dragon returned to The Beach Boys and introduced Tennille to the band. Tennille played electric piano with the band during their 1972 tour. In 1973, Tennille and Dragon left to form Captain & Tennille and began performing at local clubs. In September 1973, they released their self-financed debut single, "The Way I Want to Touch You", which was a local hit and helped them to get a record contract with A&M Records. The duo recorded a cover version of the Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield 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.
With her then husband Daryl Dragon, as Captain & Tennille, she recorded the Christmas song "Saving Up Christmas" included in their DVD box set for 1976-1977's The Captain & Tennille Show; this was followed by a full-length Christmas album titled The Secret of Christmas, released in 2007.
In April 2016, Tennille released her memoir, Toni Tennille: A Memoir, and went on a book tour to promote it later that summer. An 'audiobook' of the memoir was also released on the audiobook service Audible.
Tennille married her first husband, Kenneth Shearer, in June 1962 at the age of 22. They divorced in late 1972. She then married Daryl Dragon on November 11, 1975. Tennille stated their accountant told them they'd do "a lot better with taxes" if they were married. The couple moved from Reno, Nevada, to Prescott, Arizona, in 2007. They divorced in July 2014.
In 2015, Tennille moved to Florida at the suggestion of her sister Jane. 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". In her memoir Tennille revealed that despite their success and public image of a solid marriage, she was lonely and isolated. Daryl had been controlling and emotionally distant; throughout their relationship they slept in separate bedrooms. "I can say without exaggeration that he showed no physical affection for me during our very long marriage," she said. However, she later implied that Daryl reacted positively to her memoir and the revelation by saying, "I saw you on The Today Show. I was proud of you."
Despite their divorce, Tennille and Dragon remained friends until his death from renal failure on January 2, 2019. Dragon stated in a February 2017 interview with People that Tennille had returned to Arizona to assist him following a serious health-related incident he had experienced the previous year.
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.
The Toni Tenille Show (ended 1981). Air date: September 15, 1980 (Episode 1).
Daily Monday to Fridays Daytime 4-5pm, Hour long program (15-Sep-1980 to 27-Feb-1981)
Go into the studio with Toni Tennille as she performs her memoir and shares stories of her life in music. Learn more at http://www.audible.com/ToniTennille
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.
With several big band albums to her credit, including the just-released 'Things Are Swingin (...)
'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.