Toni Tennille: A Memoir is an okay title for the Alabama native’s life story, but once you read it to the end, you might agree with me that "Toni Tennille: Happy at Last" is more fitting. I cannot deny that I had low expectations as I began reading the autobiography of this singer who I always adored as a teen and held on to over the decades as a guilty pop pleasure. The glamour, the celebrity friends, parties, etc. - ho-hum, we’ve certainly heard it all before. But trust me, you haven’t heard this story.
If, like me, you are old enough to remember The Captain and Tennille as a top of the charts recording and touring sensation, you’ll remember Toni Tennile’s soaring vocals, her Southern charm, and her big-as-all-outdoors smile. As for The Captain - Daryl Dragon, the former keyboardist for The Beach Boys - what you’ll recall of him was that he rarely spoke while glowering at his wife and everyone else most of the rest of the time. He always wore a hat, eventually hiding behind sunglasses, too.
I spent a lifetime thinking it was an act. Toni Tennille spent a lifetime wishing it was an act. Turns out, The Captain was a miserable wretch of a human being and spent decades treating his wife like crap. Reading Toni Tennille: A Memoir is a soul-crushing experience; turning each page you’ll find yourself screaming, “Toni! Get away from that bastard!” But as anyone who has ever suffered emotional abuse at the hands of a spouse knows, it’s not always easy to make a clean break. I’m glad I read Toni Tennile: A Memoir; I’m even happier to know that the subject of the book is finally free.
Key interview moments:
- 4:40 - Toni Tennille describes her rough road with former husband Daryl Dragon - The Captain in The Captain and Tennille - but refuses to blame him or play the victim. Instead she blames his father, Academy Award-winning composer Carmen Dragon.
- 23:45 - Why has Toni Tennille dedicated “Muskrat Love” to former US Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger at every performance since 1974?