Mr. Media: The Tony Tennille Interview

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“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.