(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. May anyone who disagrees get gang raped by a thousand muskrats in heat.)
I was over at the official Boston Red Sox Message Board, one of my other online hangouts, when a thread asking people for their opinion on the worst song of the 1970's caught my eye. After giving my suggestions (and stating how I feel that the 80's were, as a whole, worse than the 70's), I began to peruse the suggestions of others. For the most part the songs mentioned were performed by one-hit wonders: "Playground In My Mind" by Clint Holmes, " Run Joey Run" by David Geddes, "Billy Don't Be A Hero" by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods: the list goes on and on. All of these songs suck big time, but the artists do not qualify for induction into the not-so-hallowed halls of MTS. Then I saw them; their name typed into the thread, the letters peering into my very essence as if to say, "why weren't we inducted when you first started this fucking thing?" After doing some light qualifying research, I realized that Captain & Tennille deserved to be inducted as of yesterday. How could I have been so blind? Well it's never too late for induction into MTS; never too late to rectify the wrongs of my past ignorance.
Cathryn Antoinette Tennille was born on May 8, 1943 in Montgomery AL, the daughter of big band singer Frank Tennille (who performed under the stage name Clark Randall) and his wife Cathryn, a local television talk show host. Tennille studied piano a youngster and would make the occasional appearance on her mother's show. After attending Auburn University to study music, Tennille moved to California where met, married, and a divorced a drummer by the name of Kenneth Shearer. During this time she also joined a theater group by the name of South Coast Repertory, and wrote her own revue for the group to perform. The revue was called Mother Earth, keeping with the environmentalist boom of the early 1970's. The show was mostly performed in the Los Angeles area, and it was in the City of Angels where Tennille met Darryl Dragon. Dragon was the son of a conductor who had toured with the Beach Boys and performed on a couple of their records. He earned the nickname "Captain Keyboard" from Mike Love because he would appear on stage in a yachting cap.
Dragon soon joined the revue as the keyboardist, and when the revue was closed returned to touring with the Beach Boys and helped get Tennille hired as a pianist and backup singer. Both of them toured with the Beach Boys for over the year, and soon fell in love (they would marry in 1975). After leaving the Beach Boys tour the duo went out on their own, their hearts set on making some of the most insipid pop music known to man. They played LA clubs under the name Captain and Tennille (not THE Captain & Tennille, heaven forbid), and in 1973 financed their own debut single, "The Way I Want To Touch You". The single began to get airplay in the LA area, and the duo signed with A&M Records (home to such lite pop acts as The Carpenters). In 1975 they released their debut album, Love Will Keep Us Together. The title track, a cover a Neil Sedaka song, was released as their second single and topped the charts. As for "The Way I Want To Touch You", that song ended up getting three different releases, reaching gold status on the third try.
The Love Will Keep Us Together album would remain on the charts for two years, going gold itself. In January of 1976, a third single went gold, "Lonely Night (Angel Face)", which was written by the aforementioned Neil Sedaka and released to promote their second album Song Of Joy. The next month, "Love Will Keep Us Together" would win the Grammy for Record of the Year. One of the cardinal rules of Music That Sucks is that the Grammy's are a fucking joke, as it seems many of the inductees sport one on their trophy shelves.
To pause for a moment here to reflect, like many of the inductees here, Captain and Tennille are before my time. I was not around when they were at the height of their popularity, but I can guess that Captain and Tennille were never "cool". The couple themselves were in their early-mid 30's at the height of their success, and their music just screams out "for middle-aged listeners only". I'm sure those of you who were in your teenage years during this time can back me up, but I would think that a teenager getting caught listen to C&T back in the day would have recieved a well-deserved ass-whuppin.
Song Of Joy followed it's predecessor and went gold, on the strength of a cover of the old Miracles hit "Shop Around", and one of the worst fucking songs of all time: "Muskrat Love". "Muskrat Love" is pretty self-explanatory, it tells the story of two muskrats (Suzy and Sam) meeting and falling in love. As is that weren't stupid enough, the track features Tennille's interpretation of two muskrats having sex. Let me repeat that, TENNILLE MAKES LITTLE "MUSKRAT FUCKING" NOISES DURING THE SONG! I wanted to beat my own ass after the song finished for not having shut the song off and cleaning my ears with toxic waste. Luckily, the end of the success of Tennille and her silent little eunick was just around the horizon.
Attempting to find an answer to the success of the Sonny and Cher variety show on CBS, ABC signed the duo to their own variety show appropriate named The Captain & Tennille in September 1976. The show was a major flop, and according to Dragon overexposed the duo, leading to declining record sales. Although ABC had offered to continue the show, the duo declined and the show was finished after one season. In 1977 the duo, like Ethel Merman and Rick Dees before them, tried their hand at Disco with the single "Can't Stop Dancin'". The song made the Top 20, but failed to reach gold status. Subsequent releases tanked even further, the couple made the switch to Casablanca Records just before that label went under, then to CBS records, but never released an album for that label. They enjoyed a brief comeback in the mid 1990's when 1970's camp was in style, but thankfully they remain has-beens. Look for them to appear on one of the many stupid B-list celebrity reality shows; after all, that seems like the next logical step.
The 1970's, while having it's bright spots musically, was also a breeding ground for schmaltzy horseshit like this.
Captain & Tennille, music...that sucks!