Daryl Dragon of pop duo Captain and Tennille dies at 76

(In this January 2 story corrects year Dragon met Tennille in paragraph 12, clarifies they met before touring with the Beach Boys and that “Love Will Keep Us Together” was No. 1 for 4 weeks, not 8)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Singer and pianist Daryl Dragon, best known as “The Captain” of 1970s soft rock duo Captain and Tennille, has died at the age of 76, his publicist said on Wednesday.

Dragon died of kidney failure in Prescott, Arizona, on Wednesday, publicist Harlan Boll said in a statement.

Captain and Tennille were best known for their Grammy-winning 1974 hit song “Love Will Keep Us Together, as well as the hits “Muskrat Love” in 1976, and “Do That to Me One More Time” in 1980.

They also hosted their own television variety series from 1976 to 1977.

Toni Tennille, who married Dragon in 1975, was with him when he died.

“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,” Tennille said in a statement.

The couple divorced in 2014 but remained friends.

Tennille said in a 2010 blog post that Dragon was suffering from an unspecified neurological condition that gave him hand tremors, seriously affecting his ability to play keyboards.

Dragon said in 2017 that his problems were a result of medication and that he was better.

Dragon was a classically trained pianist but preferred to play blues and boogie music instead of Bach and Beethoven. He played with Fats Domino and B.B. King and was also a backup keyboard player for the Beach Boys in the mid-1960s and early 1970s.

It was with the Beach Boys that Dragon got his stage name, thanks to his habit of wearing a ship captain’s hat while performing.

He met Tennille in 1971, and they both later toured for the Beach Boys. They signed a record deal in 1974, releasing “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which held onto the No. 1 spot on the charts for four weeks in the summer of 1975. Captain and Tennille also toured England, Australia and Japan.

In 1976, they sang at the White House during the bicentennial celebrations of the American Revolution.

Wednesday’s obituary notice said that at Dragon’s request there would be no services, and suggested donations to organizations conducting research into neurological conditions.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by James Dalgleish and Jonathan Oatis