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Music branding lessons from Captain and Tennille

What image do you think of when you think of  the duo Captain & Tennille?

Captain & T photos

For me – it is that “Captain’s hat”.

I hadn’t thought about the duo since the 1970s until  recent news of the duo divorcing.

(O.K. – There was one, brief time when I thought of Captain & Tennille – when I  had to explain to my son a Captain & Tennille reference in Modern Family where Phil Dunphy refers to his fists as Captain & Tennille.)

Anyway, I started thinking about how clever their “branding” was – and I wanted to know the story behind that name and captain’s hat!

Why the name “Captain”?

The Captain’s real name is Daryl Dragon.

Apparently, when he played as keyboardist with The Beach Boys, Mike Love gave him the nickname Captain.

Daryl then started wearing the Captain hat to go with the nickname.

In my opinion very,very clever.

Names are so common place in entertainment. Coming up with a memorable name is so important.

“Captain” stands out.

The name plus that hat – REALLY stands out!

I love how Captain would wear that hat – even with a tuxedo! This was his “trademark look”.

Captain - hat and tux

As a kid dancing to my mum’s record of Captain & Tennille – I never knew Captain’s  real name. I didn’t care. I just remembered that hat!

As a kid, I always thought Tennille was the first name of the woman. Of course it was her last name.

Her full name is Cathryn Antoinette (“Toni”) Tennille

Why Tennille?


These days as a writing coach and trainer – I teach about the power of the sound of words and in advertising and speeches how to make messages stand out and be memorable.

In my opinion.

the T in Tennille – goes well with the T in CapTain.

Of course Toni has a T too – but I reckon Tennille is a rarer name and stands out more.

Plus Captain &  Toni would sound like Jimmy Buffett’s Captain Tony.

Also, maybe it was just  sign of those male-dominated times – but “leading” with the Captain works well.

To me this was the most “distinctive” part.

What about you?

Maybe you can think of other artists who don’t go by their real names – but have a more memorable name.

Some even have trademark hats/ headgear!

Please add in the comments section below – any artist/band names that really stand out for you – and why the name/image hooked your attention.


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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips and writing. Lots of posts about writing – and music!



One comment on “Music branding lessons from Captain and Tennille

  1. efangelist
    January 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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