Thursday, January 3, 2019

Remembering DARYL FRANK DRAGON

You are not very good if you are not better than your best friends imagine you to be.
-Johann Kaspar Lavater

Happy January 3rd, 2019!
January 3 is the third day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 362 days remaining until the end of the year. Well. congratulations, we've all made it through another holiday season.
How did your 2018 go? Are you ready to kick 2019 off?  I've been thinking about what worked and what didn't. And what comes through loud and clear is that a lot worked.

2019 is a very special year for me. It was 40 years ago this August that I came to New York.  I have decided to devote this year to reflecting 40 years back in the journey that led to my coming to New York on August 5th, 1979. 40 years ago today, I was 17. I was living in Conway South Carolina. I was going to Conway High School, a senior. I was known by everyone as Ricky Skipper.
January 3rd, 1979 was a Wednesday. My guess is that we were back in school, but I can't be certain. I can be certain that we had a REAL POTUS in the White House, Jimmy Carter. I was listening to the Bee Gees. I was probably listening to The Captain and Tennille as well. It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing yesterday of Daryl Dragon, The Captain.

"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." - Toni Tennille.

DARYL FRANK DRAGON
Born: August 27, 1942 in Los Angeles, CA
Died: Tuesday, Jan 2nd in Prescott, AZ

Daryl Dragon was a brilliant keyboardist, arranger and record producer, known to his many fans worldwide as “The Captain” half of the pop music duo, Captain and Tennille.  Daryl passed away on Wednesday, Jan 2nd at 1:37am due to renal failure at the age of 76.

Daryl was born into a musical family, the son of Academy Award winning arranger, composer and conductor Carmen Dragon and his wife, Eloise Dragon, a true coloratura soprano whose exquisite voice was often featured in film scores and in the recordings of Bing Crosby and other recording stars of the time.
Daryl's Godfather was the famous actor and comedian, Danny Thomas.
Daryl was a classically trained pianist, but preferred to play Blues and Boogie rather than Bach and Beethoven.  His piano heroes were Fats Domino, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.  Two of his greatest musical thrills were playing duets with Fats, and performing on television with the great blues guitarist and singer, BB King, another of his idols.  Daryl had a very dry sense of humor and drew quite a few of his comedic musical ideas from Danish classical pianist and comedian, Victor Borge.

Daryl's familiar stage name came from his time as a backup musician for the Beach Boys in the mid 1960s and the early 1970s.  He had taken to wearing a Captain's hat onstage, and Mike Love used to introduce him to the audience as DARYL DRAGON, CAPTAIN OF THE KEYBOARDS!!! During his time with the Boys, Daryl made significant contributions to
their concerts and some recordings with his unique keyboard style, playing and arranging on the Beach Boys' 1972 release Carl and the Passions “So Tough.”  He also worked with Dennis Wilson, helping Dennis, who could not read music, transfer his often strikingly beautiful song-writing into musical notation.  He co-wrote one of Dennis' finest ballads, Cuddle Up, which was recorded not only by Dennis himself, but later by Captain and Tennille.

In 1971 Daryl met his future wife, Toni Tennille, when she hired him to play piano for a musical called Mother Earth, which she had written while at South Coast Repertory Theatre in southern California.
Soon after that, Daryl recommended her as acoustic pianist for the next Beach Boys tour, since their regular pianist needed to take some time off.  While touring together with the Beach Boys, the couple gradually began a musical and romantic relationship.  Whenever they were not touring with the Boys, Toni and Daryl began performing together in small clubs and other venues around Southern California.  During their club days, after considering other options, they finally decided to call themselves Captain and Tennille.
They began to develop a fan base of loyal followers on the club circuit from 1972 through 1974.
Also during this time, Toni wrote the first of many love songs she would write for Daryl. The Way I Want to Touch You.  The two scraped up enough cash to have a few hundred records pressed and distributed to local stations.  When the The Way I Want to Touch You quickly became a listener favorite, record labels took notice.  They signed with A&M Records in 1974, and were soon on their way to becoming one of the most loved musical duos of the 70s and 80s.  Their first album for A&M and their first single were both named LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, from a song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield.  Love Will Keep Us Together started climbing the charts in November of 1974 and hit #1 in July of 1975, remaining at #1 for 8 weeks.  It was the Song of the Summer of 1975, winning the Grammy for 1975s Record of the Year.

Due to the duo's rising popularity and guest appearances they had made on television, ABC approached them with an offer of their own television Variety Show.  The Captain and Tennille show became a network hit, drawing 34,000,000 viewers each week.
Toni loved doing the show, but Daryl, who never enjoyed being on camera, did not.  As a result, they declined ABC's offer to do another season, but did agree to do three annual specials for the network, beginning with Captain and Tennille in Hawaii, then Captain and Tennille in New Orleans, and ending with 1980's Captain and Tennille Songbook. Nine more albums and fourteen chart hits came in the next decade, all produced by Daryl, and concluding with another #1 hit, written by Toni for Daryl, called Do That To Me One More Time. Daryl and Toni kept up a busy schedule of touring and performing all over the US and Canada, as well as England, Australia, Japan, and in other countries.

After 39 years of marriage, Toni and Daryl separated in 2013, and finalized their divorce in July of 2014.  They remained in constant contact and were dear friends to the end.

In a statement, Toni has asked that all of Daryl's many fans remember him as she does, with love and a grateful heart for the music they created together.

Survived by:  Older brother, Doug Dragon of Hawaii; and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn of California.
Services:  Daryl requested that there be no services.

Donations:  If you would like to make a donation in his name, please do so to your favorite organization doing research into brain diseases and conditions such as Parkinsons Disease, familial and essential tremor, effects of concussion and PTSD.  Thank you. (Source: B. Harlan Boll
BHBPR
http://www.bhbpr.com)

Richard Skipper Celebrates Picks of the Week

Zachary Clause
Downtown supper club, Pangea, will showcase several of its signature artists in a six-day “Winter Alt-Fest” running from Friday, January 4 to Wednesday, January 9. Featuring a mix of new shows and special encores of productions seen in recent months, the six-day Festival spotlights performers from several genres, including theatre, music, dance, comedy and performance. The line-up includes the nightclub iconoclast Zachary Clause; David Bowie channeler Raquel Cion, improvisational singer-satirist David Nagler (with special guests Tammy Faye Starlite and Xavier), downtown legend Flotilla DeBarge, the dance-theatre duo Catherine Cabeen and Kristina Berg, cabaret artist Tim Cahill, spoken word multi-mediaist Alberto Zayden and the alternative folk-rock trio Vicki Kristina Barcelona. Read MORE

Veronica Swift and The Emmet Cohen Trio at Birdland, Saturday January 5th shows at 7:00pm & 9:45pm
Veronica Swift

Joshua Lance Dixon at The Beach Cafe, Saturday, January 5th at 9:30pm

Susan Werner and Ann Hampton Callaway at The Iridium, Saturday, January 5th at 9:30pm
(Source: Nitelife Exchange)

A "Live" Musical Production of Tony Award/Grammy Award/Pulitzer Prize Award winning show "RENT" will be airing on Sunday, January 27, 2019 on FOX TV, 8pm-10pm ET (PT tape delayed). Check your local provider listings for details. Click HERE for MORE

Now, go and do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return! Treat Them to A LIVE SHOW! 

********


Here's to A Great 2019!

A Few Audience Testimonials about Richard Skipper Celebrates
Richard Skipper Celebrates Marilyn Lester and Betsyann Faiella
Richard, your Facebook Live interview program from the YORK Theatre Oscar Hammerstein Awards Gala honoring Susan Stroman was great fun and you were, as always, a charming and skillful pro. I couldn’t help but think what a much needed service (and interesting and fun) it is for events like that one, smaller than the Tony Awards but important to many! And the Tony Awards and anyone else would be lucky to have you, too!
Betsyann Faiella, SavoyPR

I have LOVED Richard's Blogs and Articles, and have really enjoyed his Facebook LIVE series......they are always so helpful and informative. 
I've been able to catch a few of them, most recently - last week's featuring Melissa Manchester and the investigation and recovery of Judy Garland's Ruby Slippers. Melissa was so inspiring! Thank-you Richard!!
-Jennifer Roberts, Detroit, MI

Richard Skipper, You are Absolutely Amazing!!! So kind and So loving. It was such a joy to watch you craft your show on October 14th. What a Masterful job Of Singing and Hosting You Did. You knew just the right questions to ask and statements to make to help each of us to feel so special. As others have said you were born for your role.  I will never forget you bringing Reggie Whitehead on stage. I smiled from ear to ear with complete delight and laughed out loud! That was a brilliant moment! I am so grateful to you for inviting me to be a part of such a Fabulous Show that brought together so much incredible talent on one stage. Thank You to both You and your wonderful Producer Russ Woolley. Kudos to Everyone in The Laurie Beechman Theater for taking such good care of us. 
Continued Blessings On Your Wonderful Journey Richard. Love You 
Avery Sommers, Palm Beach, Florida

SAVE THE DATE! Richard Skipper Celebrates Sunday, February 10, 2018 at 1:00PM The Laurie Beechman Theatre 407 West 42nd Street Downstairs at the West Bank Cafe New York, NY 10036  There is also a $20 food/beverage minimum per person. Russ Woolley Proudly Presents Richard Skipper Celebrates...Love Aquarian Style featuring Meg Flather, Lina Koutrakos, Rosemary Loar, Karen
Karen Mack
Mack, Stacy Sullivan, All under the Musical Direction of Christine Talbott with Kacey Fassett on sax, Adi Myerson on bass

!  (ALL Aquarians!) You never know who you might see there and what might happen!  $30 Cover and $20 Minimum per person.  The afternoons are also made possible by Wright Bros. Real Estate. Do yourself a favor and CELEBRATE! Tickets go on sale on January 10th!        
This Show Is Also Made Possible by  Wright Bros. Real Estate, Nyack New York



With grateful XOXOXs,


 


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Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

This Blog is Dedicated to Bob Einstein

 
 




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