CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS | ET APPEARANCE | C&T FUTURE?
- MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY
To all of my Christian readers...a Joyous and Happy Christmas, celebrated
in the glow of your faith! To all of my readers of other faiths....
and of no particular faith.... a Warm and Wonderful Holiday Season!
I hope all of the holidays that fall from Thanksgiving through December,
leading up to the clean slate of the sparkling, hopeful
New Year, will bring to all of you all of the love, good health
and happiness you could possibly hope for. And I hope you will remember
from this Christmas to the next, the wise words of the legendary
lyricist Sammy Cahn..... the secret of Christmas is not the
things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do
all year through.
It is Christmas morning in La Quinta, and as I write this at my
little desk in the kitchen, I can see, through the sunny window
in front of me, the large terracotta flower pots filled with bright
red, pink and white geraniums blooming cheerfully in our courtyard....
perfect Christmas colors against the green of their leaves. And
as I do every single day of my life, I think of how absolutely blessed
I have been in my life. I am truly humbled and thankful.
Today Daryl and I are going to share Christmas dinner with long-time
dear friends of ours. As my regular readers know, my sisters and
their husbands were out here earlier in the month, and now is the
time to concentrate on friends... who are, after all, extended family,
and just as precious. I am trying out a new recipe for my contribution
to dinner today...Bishops Bread.... a dense, moist cake filled
with pecans (or walnuts), chopped dates or raisins, semi-sweet chocolate
chips, and chopped marachino cherries. It is meant to be eaten in
thin slices, perhaps with a cup of tea or coffee. Just so you know.....
it is NOT the dreaded FRUITCAKE!!! If it turns out well, Ill
post the recipe in my blog before the New Year.
ET finally aired the segment they shot on us, and before I say anything
else, I want to say thank you to the ET producers for including us
in one of their shows. It gave us a great deal of exposure for the
Christmas CD we would never have otherwise, and we are grateful.
However, I am now going to give you my impressions of the surreal
experience of watching ourselves on that show. To me, Daryl and I
seemed like a couple of big old elephants in a room full of darting,
racing bees and hummingbirds. It is very clear to me now that television
and peoples tastes have really moved on since our heyday. I
mean, I knew it, but, frankly, I dont watch ET or ACCESS HOLLYWOOD
or any of those shows. My taste in television runs to news, Public
Television and HGTV.
Daryl and I didnt know where we would appear in the show, so
we watched it right from the beginning. Frankly, after about 15 minutes,
I was starting to get a headache. All of the quick cuts, rapid pace,
commercials, Paris/Lindsay/Britney/Britneys little sister/and
all kinds of superficial silliness was just getting to me! Most of
the stories seemed to be measured in seconds. I must say
I was pretty amazed when our segment lasted a bit longer than a minute
or so... that seemed very generous for that type of show.
What did NOT make me happy was the emphasis on my comments about Karen
Carpenters anorexia...... although I now realize that was probably
the only reason we made it onto the show. A little bit of dirt
seems to be needed for todays audiences. Here is how that happened.
In November, the ET crew was at our home in La Quinta for about four
hours, setting up the lights and camera, taping an interview, taping
us performing CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA at our piano, and also shooting
some footage of us walking together in our backyard. They also shot
some of the personal photos we have in the house, including the one
of us that quite a few of you mentioned.... the sepia-toned photo
of us taken way back in the early 70s. It was our first publicity
photo, and we have it displayed on the mantel over our fireplace in
Anyhow.... after the producer finished our interview and the crew
was getting ready to wrap things up, somehow Karens name came
up. I think the producer and I were talking about singers we particularly
loved. She asked if we had known Karen, and I said we had been at
A&M Records at the same time and knew each other casually. She
then signaled the camera operator to start taping again, and began
to ask me about Karen and her anorexia.
Although alarm bells went off in my head, I thought (in my usual positive
way), Maybe they are going to do a special about Karen some
day, and want to store comments from people who knew her in their
files. So I went along with it. It never occurred to me they
would use it on the show we were on! After ALL of these years in this
rotten business, I am still too damned trusting! Yes, indeed, things
have changed, and tabloid TV has taken over.
I had hoped that my comments about Karen might be used in a way to
help other young women (and men) struggling with anorexia and bulemia.
Instead, it was used to titillate and tease, and draw in an audience
in the cheapest possible way. I am so sorry. She deserves so much
more kindness and respect for the great joy she brought to all of
us with her beautiful voice.
This new year ahead of us looks like it will be a year when Daryl
and I will have to make a lot of decisions about our future, and what
we want to do professionally in the next twenty or so years of our
lives. We have a lot of thinking and pondering to do. Here are some
of the things we are taking into consideration as we think about our
On the ET show, it was kind of unnerving to watch ones self
age so rapidly in such a short piece..... from our first
publicity photo (1972) to early TV clips from 1976-77, to our appearance
on the GLAAD Awards show back in the early 90s to NOW. Yes, we both
look pretty darned good for folks in their late 60s, but there is
no doubt that we are now looking rather... ahem.... mature. I see
my mother looking back at me from the TV screen.
This is not a BAD thing.... my mother was such a terrific woman, and
so much fun to be around. It is just that, inside myself, I was always
that young woman from 1970's TV. Now it is time to move to a much
later phase, and be the most graceful, cheerful, MATURE woman I can
possibly be. I am thinking that the best thing I can do right now
is to pass on to younger people some of the things I have learned
over a pretty long career. For example, Daryl and I were thinking
about doing some Master Classes for the local Prescott colleges, perhaps
passing on some of our performance and music business knowledge to
Every October in Prescott, jazz trumpeter and music educator, Mike
Vax, puts on a jazz festival that lasts for three or four days. The
events occur in several venues throughout the town. Last year I had
the privilege of attending one of the jazz concerts, which included
a performance by a big band made up of Arizona university musicians...
I believe they were from either Arizona State University or Tucson.
Anyhow, their musicianship and enthusiasm just knocked me out, and
took me right back to the days when I sang with the AUBURN KNIGHTS
ORCHESTRA while I was at Auburn University in the early 1960s.
I was thinking that, once Daryl and I get settled into the new house
and finally get our music library moved down from Carson City, I would
dust off my great big band arrangements, and volunteer to sing and
share them with these young college bands. It would be great fun for
me, and I think they would love playing the fabulous arrangements
Sammy Nestico and Matt Catingub (among others) have done for me over
the years. This is kind of what I have in mind... giving back musically
in some way.
I will write more about things Daryl and I are considering for the
future as soon as we figure them out!! Right now, I think Ive
gone on enough for now. I do appreciate all of you who take a look
at TONIS TAKE from time to time, and I will try to write more
regularly after the first of the year. So... until next time... Keep
A Song Of Joy Inside Your Heart!
UPDATE !! DARYL AND TONI ON ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT
Well, we just got word that ET will air the Christmas segment
they shot at our La Quinta home in November TOMORROW NIGHT, December
20th. I am so sorry I am so late letting you know about this,
but we just found out this morning. Remember, the segment could
be as short at 30 seconds, so if you are going to watch for it,
I think I told you that an ET crew was at our home for four hours
last month, shooting the segment. It was supposed to air on their
Christmas Special, but according to the producers, they ran
out of time and wanted to give us more time than was available on
the special. Actually, considering how many Christmas CDs
have been released this year (about 3 times more than last year),
we feel fortunate to be included at all!!!
I will try to write a new blog before Christmas. Thank you so much
for being patient during this busy and hectic time. Right now we
are in Prescott, checking on the construction of our new home. In
about half an hour, were going to be receiving a call from
my sister, Louisa, who teaches second grade in Torrance, California.
Her second grade class is going to sing I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR
CHRISTMAS just for us over the phone! Louisa says they just love
the song, and cant wait to sing it for us. This will be fun!
Until next time....Keep A Song of Joy (and a hippopotamus)
Inside Your Heart! - LISTEN
3 , 2007
AT THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON IN RENO | THANK YOU ALL FOR
YOUR HELP !
- BACKSTAGE AT THE SPIRIT
OF THE SEASON IN RENO
I am writing this Take while sitting in the Reno airport, waiting
for the flight that will take me back to La Quinta... back to Daryl,
the dogs and the cats. Daryl has been in Prescott, checking on the
construction of our house while I was here. I talked to him this morning,
and he was just getting ready to leave Prescott. He will make
it home to La Quinta long before I do, since I have to fly to
Phoenix, wait a couple of hours, and then take the cramped commuter
jet to Palm Springs. Im hoping to make it home by 6:30PM.
The Reno Philharmonic Christmas Concert was just beautiful, as it
is every year. When the curtain opens on that huge stage to reveal
the 90 member symphony orchestra and 150 voice chorus, the audience
explodes into spontaneous applause because it is just such a lovely
sight! Im hoping to round up a few photos of the concert to
share with you.
The concert, called SPIRIT OF THE SEASON, was created by Maestro Barry
Jekowsky five years ago, and has become a highlight of Renos
Christmas season... sold out every year. I have been guest artist
four of the five years.
Barry basically puts together an entire Broadway-type show on a shoestring
budget. Dress rehearsals are so chaotic, it just seems impossible
that it will all come together on opening night, but it always does.
Remember, this particular show is brand new each year, and there is
only one full rehearsal to put it all together.
There were a few glitches on opening night. The magician that appeared
just before the lovely Sugarplum ballerinas evidently shot some confetti
out of a cannon as part of his act. The stagehands didnt clean
up all of the confetti, and one of the ballerinas slipped on the bits
of paper and fell to the stage (shes fine). The other dancers
continued to dance.... veeerrry carefully. For the matinee yesterday,
the director reversed the order of the acts so the stage would be
confetti-free for the dancers.
Speaking of the dancers, they were absolutely LOVELY.... dancing en
pointe to the familairWALTZ
OF THE FLOWERS.
Onstage they moved like they were weightless.... floating effortlessly
like feathers. Becky and I were standing in the wings when these lovely
girls glided offstage as if gently carried along on a soft breeze.
The minute they were in the wings and out of sight of the audience,
they all bent over, hands on their thighs, gasping for breath! Then
when they heard their musical cue to return to the stage, off they
floated, smiling and gliding.
For the past two times I have been guest artist, I have been carried
onstage in grand style in a horse-drawn sleigh. While the orchestra
and chorus sing SLEIGH RIDE, Star, the little mustang, brings me onstage,
passing right in front of the musicians and chorus. His owner leads
him on... Im not doing any driving. Besides, Im in a fancy
ballgown.... not my jeans and leather driving gloves!
Star was born in the wilds of Nevada as part of herd
of mustangs. He was adopted when he was young by a loving family,
and now appears in many shows, especially at Christmas time. They
dress him up in red leather boots, and his harness is
covered with bells and bows, and he looks adorable. He has carried
me onto that huge stage safely four times now, and I have to admire
his courage and calm amidst the sound of the instruments, the singers,
the flashing stage lights and the audiences applause when they
However, there are things the audience never sees or knows about,
thank goodness. On opening night, Stars owner brought him and
the sleigh into the wings, stage left, so I could get myself and my
ball gown into the sleigh before our entrance. We were supposed to
enter about halfway through SLEIGHRIDE. Just as I was preparing to
get in the sleigh, Star lifted his beautifully decorated tail and
very large, steaming pile on the stage floor. We only had moments
before our entrance. One of Stars handlers came flying over
with the pooper scooper, and as she removed Stars contribution,
I got into the sleigh, and onstage we went, the audience none the
wiser. Star made a perfect stop, right by the percussion section,
as they were banging away on their various instruments. I descended
to the stage as gracefully as I could, and off he went to get his
treats for being a good boy. I had a very hard time holding back the
laughter that was bubbling up inside me. Yes... you were a good boy,
At the matinee yesterday, once again, Star and the sleigh arrived
in the wings, I got into the sleigh, Star raised his tail, and
pooped....... seconds before our entrance this time. Is it something
about ME, or does he have just a touch of stage fright? Once again,
someone appeared with the scooper, and off Star and I went to make
our grand entrance. That little mustang will always have a place in
my Christmas heart!
Oh, and I must say how fabulous TAHOE SNOW sounded! I sang it, backed
by full orchestra and chorus. You just cant imagine how thrilling
it is to me to hear one of my songs played by a symphony orchestra!
Later...Wednesday, December 5th. My trip back to La Quinta from Reno
NOT go smoothly. We boarded the plane in Reno right on time. Then
we were told that there seemed to be leak of some sort in the brakes,
and we had to wait for a maintenance crew to check it out and, hopefully,
fix it. We sat on the plane at the gate for almost two more hours
before the problem was repaired and we took off for my first stop...Phoenix.
Since I had 2 1/2 hours between flights, I thought I might have a
chance to make my connection to Palm Springs. With about 15 minutes
to go, I raced as fast as I could to the next gate, two terminals
away. When I ran up to the ticket counter, I was told that the Palm
Springs flight would be delayed two hours!
Well...what can you do? This is the nature of air travel these days.
So, I bought myself a Wolfgang Puck spinach salad in a plastic container,
sat in one of those little cafe-like places among the other weary
and rather disgruntled passengers, and ate my dinner.
I finally made it home around 9PM, where I was greeted by Daryl and
the frantically barking Aussies..... all of whom seemed as glad to
see me as I was to see them!
I do want to mention a lovely young singer who appeared in the Christmas
concert. She has an absolutely beautiful, crystalline voice...what
I call a Broadway Voice....pure, strong, sweet and expressive.
Her name is Carrie Lyn Brandon and she is fourteen years old! Evidently,
Maestro Jekowsky heard her sing the National Anthem at a Giants game
in San Francisco, and asked her to sing with the orchestra he founded,
the California Symphony. In Reno, she sang two gorgeous songs from
the Broadway musical, ANASTASIA, and the audience loved her. She had
a loving and proud family with her in Reno, and I got the sense that
they would not let her do anything professionally that would push
her too hard vocally and possibly harm her young, developing voice.
Broadway is her eventual goal, and I predict you will find her there
not too far in the future.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HELP!
And now I must say many, many, MANY thanks to all of you who have
written, telling us about your experiences trying to find THE SECRET
OF CHRISTMAS and our new DVDs. I have passed on all of your comments
to Brant Berry, the head of RetroActive Entertainment. And Daryl and
I are so grateful and so moved by those of you who have called radio
stations and stores in your area to ask for the product. We cant
thank you enough for your efforts on our behalf.
We find ourselves releasing product at a time when the entire business
is changing completely. Where it will finally end up, I have no idea.
Brick and mortar stores are stocking less than half of
the CDs and DVDs than they have in the past. Recording artists who
have stayed above the radar and worked constantly, like Barry Manilow,
are getting the prominent display spots in the stores, as well they
should. Daryl and I have been so quiet professionally for so many
years, it is harder for us to get the stores attention. Also,
quite a few of the store buyers now are a couple of generations younger
than we are, and the name Captain and Tennille doesnt ring a
bell with them. The good news is, most of the outlets have had to
re-order, so we are seeing sales! Your calls and requests to the stations
and stores really make a difference for us.
By the way...if you have children or grandchildren, you might find
that they will really enjoy the C&T DVDs. My sister, Louisa, who
teaches second grade, showed some of the shows to her class, and she
said they LOVED them, and demanded to see them over and over again.
What did they love best about the shows? THE
CAPTAIN!!! Others have told us the same thing. This, of course,
makes Daryl very happy! He has a whole new generation of Hat Joke
Now Im off to do a million things in preparation for the arrival
of all three of my sisters! Louisa and Bob arrive tomorrow night,
Jane and Frank Saturday afternoon, and Melissa and Andy on Sunday
morning. I will probably not write again until their visit is over.
Once again, thank you all! Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy
Inside Your Heart.LISTEN
CD PROMOTION HELP | ALL FOUR TENNILLE SISTERS TOGETHER FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!!
- CHRISTMAS CD PROMOTION
RetroActive Entertainment, the company that has released our Christmas
CD and DVDs of our ABC TV Specials this month, has hired a Record
Promotion person to help get songs from THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS on
radio stations around the country this holiday season. Just yesterday
we received a rather disheartening note from him regarding the Virgin
Megastore in San Francisco. Although they had 10 copies of the CD,
they were not on display. They were in the stock room, where, of course,
no one could see them. Please read his comments below.
was in the Bay Area for Thanksgiving, and found myself at the Virgin
Megastore on Market St./San Francisco. Thought I'd pop in to see if
"Secret" was in stock. After searching, I did not see it
in the Christmas music section nor was it in the C&T section in
Pop/Rock. So I asked a store employee to locate the title in their
computer. Sure enough, it "came up" as being in stock...but
where were the copies hiding!!!???? Long story short, he checked the
stock room, and soon retrieved 10 copies. I said to him in a friendly
way, "Dude...these should be out so people can buy them!"
Moral to shoppers: if you don't see it, ask for it!
It was back on the phones with radio today, and most PDs (Program
Directors) just received the CD in the mail after the holiday and
yet to listen. Just a note of suggestion to Daryl and Toni for your
website and blog--please consider asking the fans to request songs
from the album at their favorite radio station. Every little bit helps!
So... as he has suggested, when you are in one of the Big
Box stores, please ask if they have our product. If they
dont, ask them to search the computer listing of their stock.
Perhaps you will find that the copies are in the stock room
instead of on display.
If possible, you could also really help us out by calling your local
radio stations, and asking them to play selections from THE
SECRET OF CHRISTMAS on their station during this holiday season.
If they say they dont have the CD, please let me know, and I
will make sure they receive one ASAP.
ALL FOUR TENNILLE SISTERS TOGETHER FOR THE
I am getting all my chores and housecleaning done before I leave for
Reno early Thursday morning. Ill return on Monday, and shortly
after that, my sisters and their husbands start arriving here in La
Quinta. Louisa and Bob arrive first, and can only stay a few days.
Melissa and Andy arrive on Saturday morning, and can only stay until
Monday morning. Jane and Frank arrive (all the way from Orlando) on
Saturday afternoon, and will be with us until Thursday morning. That
gives us ONE complete day when all four Tennille Sisters
will be together... Sunday, December 9th! It is so rare that all four
of us are together, and I cant wait! Ive booked a private
dining room at one of our favorite restaurants here so we can all
have dinner together that evening. Since the room is private, we can
laugh, talk and even sing without disturbing the other diners.
Daryl and I are making some pretty big decisions about our future
and what we will be doing after we get the new house finished and
have settled in. Things are just in the concept stage
right now, and I will share them with you at a later date. Believe
me, it is nothing huge, but something we feel like we can handle at
this stage of our lives.
Im off to alter one of my gowns for the Christmas show, and
then do some serious housecleaning. Many, many thanks ahead of time
to all of you who help us out with calls to radio stations! Until
next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. LISTEN
PROCRASTINATION | MORE ON SEDAKA TRIBUTE
| MORE ON CLAYMATES | RENO PHIL CHRISTMAS | C&T ON TV?
I am writing this from our little rental house in Prescott, AZ. Daryl
and I and the dogs drove over from La Quinta a few days ago to check
on the progress of our new home. I am happy to say it is going very
well, and I am really hopeful that well be able to move in this
spring and start our new life here in Prescott.
I sat down at the computer yesterday morning, with a couple of hours
to devote to writing TONIS TAKE. I sat there... and sat there...
and I just couldnt get started. WHY am I having trouble
writing this TAKE ? I kept asking myself. And then it hit me.
Frankly, I am SICK of talking about myself!!!!
For the past couple of months, Daryl and I have been promoting the
C&T Specials DVDs and the Christmas CD, doing interview after
interview, answering many of the same questions over and over again....
which is to be expected, of course. Most of the interviewers dont
spend their lives trying to keep up with what Daryl and I are doing.....
or did... or might do in the future. They are just doing their jobs.
So they ask, How did you get the name CAPTAIN? and How
long have you been married? My mother was a TV Talk Show host
when I was growing up, and I had my own syndicated talk/variety show
in 1980, so I know how hard it is to ask questions that might be interesting
to the person you are interviewing. It is just easier to ask the usual
I also feel that I should only write TONIS TAKE when I have
something to say about show business or something of that nature.
Honestly, Daryl and I lead such unremarkable lives.... we just do
a lot of the same things you do..... cook dinner, take out the trash,
clean the house, take care of the dogs and cats, visit with friends,
etc. Once in a while we have an excitement bump, such
as the recent trip to New York for the Neil Sedaka Tribute and to
crazy, traffic-snarled, hectic LA for promo. But most of the time,
we are just regular people.... like you are. Admittedly, we have a
pretty interesting past, but our present is very mellow, and that
is just the way we like it.
MORE ON SEDAKA TRIBUTE
A few comments from the past couple of months events. I heard
from a writer to TONIS TAKE who was at the Sedaka afterparty
She said that she saw CONNIE FRANCIS and PAUL SCHAFFER there, near
one of the entrances to the party. I didnt know they were there,
since I didnt see them, but Daryl and I were kind of backed
into a corner, with a sea of people between us and the entrance, so
that is why we missed them.
Many of you wrote to ask if the Sedaka event was taped for television,
and the answer is no. Actually, although the artists who were gathered
there to pay tribute to Neils songwriting were wonderful, and
even legendary, I must say I was disappointed with the presentation.
I thought the stage looked pretty bare and boring, and the lighting
was lacking in creativity. I suppose the producer wanted to keep costs
down so as to donate even more money to Eltons AIDS Foundation,
but I just feel more should have been done to make the stage setting
worthy of Neil and the talent assembled on his behalf, and to give
the audience more of what they paid a great deal of money for.
MORE ON CLAYMATES
I cant believe the number of emails I have had from Clay Aiken
fans since I mentioned him in my last TAKE! They call themselves CLAYMATES,
and they absolutely adore him. What was interesting to me was how
many of them say they are middle-aged women in their 40s, 50s and
up. They tell me that, in addition to his voice, they are incredibly
impressed with him as a person, and with his interaction with his
fans. They follow him from show to show in different cities, and talk
to each other in chat rooms all the time. Something about Clay has
really touched a huge number of people, and I think it has something
to do with this crazy, out-of-control world we live in now. Clay seems
to display the sort of caring, kind persona we all wish we saw more
often. So to all of you CLAYMATES.... keep rooting for your guy! With
all of you behind him, Im sure he will have a long, fulfilling
RENO PHIL CHRISTMAS
In a couple of weeks I am headed back to Reno to sing with the RENO
PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA in their annual SPIRIT OF THE SEASON Christmas
concert on Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd- http://www.renophil.com.
Daryl wont be going, since he needs to be in Prescott to check
on the house construction during that time.
I missed singing with the orchestra last season, and this year is
the final concert under Maestro Barry Jekowsky, who is leaving at
the end of the season. When Barry called me a couple of months ago
to ask if I would join them again, I just couldnt say no. I
absolutely love that orchestra, and have many friends among the musicians.
And the trip also gives me the opportunity to see my non-musician
northern Nevada friends again!
Like the Sedaka Tribute, this show will NOT be taped for television
viewing, which is a real shame, since it is a spectacularly beautiful
show in every way. It is just too expensive to pay for eighty or so
musicians, all the tech people working the show, the dancers, chorus,
acrobats, and everyone else involved, PLUS pay the rights for the
music and arrangements. I have always donated my appearances with
the RPO as part of my support for the Arts in Nevada, partly because
Ive always thought it was the right thing to do, but mostly
because it is just so much fun for me, and gives the audience such
a lovely and heartwarming holiday treat.
This year Ill be singing a gorgeous and thrilling arrangment
of THE CHRISTMAS WALTZ by Daryls father, Carmen Dragon. I recorded
it some years back with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
for a CD called CHRISTMAS WITH THE POPS. Rosemary Clooney and Doc
Severinsen are also featured. It is a lovely CD, and I highly recommend
it. I believe it is still available at amazon.com.
Ill also be singing TAHOE SNOW at Barrys request. Most
of the people in the audience either live at Tahoe, or spend lots
of time there throughout the year, so you could call it a special
Christmas song for nothern Nevadans. Daryl and I performed it with
the orchestra two years ago, and it really sounds great with full
orchestra and chorus. You cant imagine what a kick I get out
of hearing one of the songs I have written performed by a symphony
orchestra! Ill also sing a sparkling arrangement by the legendary
Sammy Nestico of the much-loved WHITE CHRISTMAS, and ask the audience
to sing along with me.
But my favorite part of the show is when I get to recite the famous
poem, TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, as a kind of duet
with the orchestra. The arrangement is just enchanting... there is
just no other word that better describes it, and it gives me great
pleasure to tell that classic story again for all the children in
By the way, many thanks to all of you who wrote with anniversary wishes
for me and Daryl. It is truly hard to believe we have been married
32 years (plus three illegal years). As Daryl says, we
have now been together longer than we HAVENT been together.
He definitely has a way with words.
C&T ON TV?
And now a couple of things to tell you about where you might see us
on television during the holiday season. A crew from ENTERTAINMENT
TONIGHT came out to our home in La Quinta a couple of weeks ago to
shoot an interview and footage of us for their Christmas show. They
were at the house almost four hours, including set-up time. However,
knowing how television works, if we ARE included in the show, the
time devoted to us could be as little as a couple of minutes. I believe
it is set to air around December 8th, but I will post the actual date
in TONIS TAKE as soon as I find out when it is.
We also did an interview for the TV GUIDE CHANNEL for their Christmas
roundup. Im not sure when that will air, either, so Ill
have to get back to you as soon as I find out specific dates.
You know, these shows are mostly about the current pop music scene,
and Daryl and I represent the past, so how much air time well
get is really up to the directors and producers (who are younger and
younger these days). It is just a fact of the way things are... and
not just today. It has ALWAYS been that way. Also, Daryl and I keep
such a low profile, when we resurface, it takes a while
to get things going.
Now Im off to do a million things. Were headed back to
La Quinta tomorrow, and have lots to do before we leave Prescott.
Until next time... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart!
TO YOU, MY READERS | OUR TRIP TO NYC | NEIL SEDAKA TRIBUTE CONCERT
THANKS TO YOU, MY READERS
Before I get into my TAKE for today, let me say a million thanks
to all of you who took the time to write and tell me about your
experiences purchasing our new DVDs. I would say 98% of you said
you bought them online... quite a few ordered from Amazon.com.....
and that you were very happy with their service.
Since I wrote my last TAKE, I received a very enlightening email
from Brant Berry, who is the president of our releasing company,
RetroActive Entertainment. He explained to me the difficulties of
trying to get the product into the brick and mortar
stores. It is not only that RetroActive is a very small company,
but stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc., are cutting
way back on the number of CDs and DVDs they stock because of pirating,
downloading and file sharing. AND... they charge a hefty fee for
shelf space for the ones they DO stock..... a little
out of RetroActives budget abilities. However, just about
everyone buys online these days, including me! I hardly EVER shop
in stores anymore. This is just the way things are shaping up in
the music business in this new era. Anyhow... thank you all once
again for taking the time to write.
OUR TRIP TO NYC
Becky, Daryl and I landed at the Palm Springs airport Saturday night
around 7:30PM, very, very tired, and glad to be home from our New
York trip. Becky needed one more flight to take her home to Las Vegas,
but stayed over in La Quinta on Sunday to relax and watch her beloved
Sunday football on TV. I must admit that, although Daryl and I had
been dreading the flights to New York, all of our American Airlines
flights were fairly close to on time, and our bags arrived when we
Daryl, as happens every time we fly, was
pulled aside this time by Palm Springs airport security, told
to remove his hat, jacket and shoes, and was wanded, patted down,
and questioned by the agent. He must look like a terrorist, poor guy.
The only little bump in the air travel road happened when we landed
back home at Palm Springs and taxied to the gate. After the Captain
turned off the seat belt sign and all the passengers stood and gathered
their things to get off the plane, airport ground staff were unable
to mate the jetway to the plane door so we could get off.
It was an interminable fifteen minutes or so before they finally got
the jetway in place so we could deplane. Then we waited forty minutes
for our bags to appear at baggage claim.... but at least the bags
showed up..all five of them.
For those of you who may be reading TONIS TAKE for the first
time, let me explain that we were in New York last week to appear
in a concert honoring singer/songriter Neil
Sedaka for his fifty years of writing hits. We also did some promotional
interviews for our new Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS, and
the DVDs of our ABC television specials from the 1970s. Many of you
have written to ask about the concert and events that occurred before
and after, so here is my TAKE.
Daryl, Becky and I arrived at New Yorks La Guardia airport late
Tuesday night. We checked into the hotel
arranged by the producer of the Sedaka tribute concert. The hotel
lobby looked like a setting for the beautiful people...very,
very chic and upscale... maybe even a tad pretentious. We had stayed
there some years ago when we were in the Macys Thanksgiving
Day Parade, but it had been renamed and remodeled, and I honestly
did not recognize it. When the Doorman said, Welcome back,
I thought he thought I was someone else.
Our suite was very nice.... clean, spare, neutral colors... kind of
Scandanavian in style. The bed had lots of fluffy down pillows, and
a down duvet, all covered in very high thread-count white sheets.
I liked the decor. Daryl didnt. But it was quiet, clean, and
the bed was comfortable. Our first interview was scheduled for 12:30PM
the next day, so we knew we could sleep in for a while in the morning.
The next morning we got our first shock. I ordered breakfast from
room service.... fruit, yogurt, granola and hot tea for me.... orange
juice, apple juice and a banana for Daryl (he brings his own cereal).
The bill was $96.00!!!!! Yes, that is NINETY-SIX DOLLARS!!!!! For
breakfast... for two people. Later, Becky told us she ordered a bagel
and coffee, and the bill was $36.00! Although the Sedaka people were
paying for the rooms, we were paying for all of our incidentals....
like breakfast. So much for hotel food. It is just against
my principles to pay that much. Thursday morning, when our interviews
started at 8:30AM, we bought granola bars at a little shop in the
radio station building, and then begged the radio staff for coffee
once we got upstairs.
Did I mention it rained the entire time we were in New York?
Later on Daryl and I walked in the rain to a drugstore a few blocks
away and bought reasonably priced bottled water for our room. The
hotel only had Evian, and they charged almost $10.00 a bottle for
it. Im sorry I am venting, but the whole thing is just ridiculous.
Daryl and I finally just had to laugh when we realized we could eat
breakfast every Sunday for a month at the Dinner
Bell in Prescott for what we paid for one breakfast at the hotel....
better food, too!
NEIL SEDAKA TRIBUTE CONCERT
Thursday afternoon Daryl, Becky and I arrived at the rehearsal studio
to rehearse LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER with the band, and go over
LONELY NIGHT/ANGEL FACE with Neil. Just as we were entering the studio,
the legendary Connie
Francis was leaving, having rehearsed WHERE THE BOYS ARE and STUPID
CUPID with Neil. She greeted us with a big smile and a hug, and seemed
genuinely glad to meet us. I remember hearing her voice on the radio
in the 50s and 60s, smooth and sweet, like vocal satin, with just
a little teardrop in it when she sang the big ballads.
She has one of the great radio voices.
I was so happy to see Neil again. He was bouncing around the studio
like a man half his age... or LESS! Neil is all about the music...
it is the true love of his life and his reason for being. The minute
he starts to play the piano or sing, he lights up like a Christmas
tree! And his voice is as sweet and true as it ever was.
The band Neil provided was excellent, and we were finished with rehearsal
in about 20 minutes.
Friday afternoon, concert day, we went over to Avery Fisher Hall at
Lincoln Center for sound check. Just off stage I ran into Natalie
Cole, whom I hadnt seen for several years. Natalie and Daryl
go back a long way... to Malibu in the 1950s. She was just a
little kid, but she used to come over to Daryls parents
house on Carbon Beach, and sing in a little jazz trio with Daryls
brother, Dennis, and arranger Nelson Riddles son. Natalie wanted
to sing like Ella Fitzgerald (who didnt?), and jazz was her
music back then. She has had a long and well-deserved career, and
it was great to see her.
At sound check that day we also met singer Lou
Christie (LIGHTNING STRIKING AGAIN), who was funny and quite charming,
and musician Paul
Schaffer, whose acerbic wit was just like it is on the Letterman
After sound check, we went back to the hotel and ordered room service!
We only had a couple of hours before we had to be back at the theatre,
it was raining, and we just decided to bite the bullet and pay up.
Two small side salads, a shrimp cocktail (for me) and vegie pasta
with a side of green beans for Daryl. $90.00. Unbelievable.
It was raining heavily when we left for the theatre Friday night.
We shared the limo with singer/actress Renee
Olstead and her mother. Renee stars in STILL STANDING on the CW
Network, and has a new CD produced by David Foster, who has produced
records for many, many famous singers such as Celine Dion and Barbra
Streisand. Renee is a tiny little slip of a girl with a radiant, beautiful
complexion (I hope she stays out of the sun for the rest of her life!).
She looked about 12 years old to me, but she is actually nineteen.
She has a lovely voice which sounds much older and more mature than
she is! She sang Neils beautiful ballad, I SHOULD HAVE NEVER
LET YOU GO.
When we arrived at the theatre, we entered the dressing room marked
CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE to find producer, David
Foster, napping on the couch! We ended up sharing the room with
him, and he and Daryl had some very interesting discussions about
the current state of the music business. On that subject, if you have
a chance to pick up the latest issue of NEWSWEEK, read the Op Ed piece
called HOW MUCH IS MUSIC WORTH by Steven Levy. It is the best description
I have read of the current sad and sorry state of the music business
right now. You can also go to newsweek.com,
and type the above title in the site search. I recommend that ALL
of you read it now. All I can say is... thank God Daryl and I had
our hits in the 70s. Today, we wouldnt have had a chance.
We also met Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Dion,
and his wife backstage before the show. He went out onstage with just
his guitar and had the audience rocking and singing along to Neils
infectious CALENDAR GIRL. What a pro he is!
Now.... for all of you Claymates out there who
might happen to read this..... I never saw Clay
Aiken backstage. He wasnt there for the finale, THATS
WHEN THE MUSIC TAKES ME, and he didnt attend the afterparty.
In fact, I never saw him at all!!! He drifted in and out of the proceedings
like a ghost... almost like he was beamed in and out of
the theatre. Becky and I sneaked out into the stage right balcony
to hear him sing SOLITAIRE, and he sang the heck out of it! And I
got such a kick out of the screams of excitement when he appeared
on stage, and when
he held that four-measure, fortissimo note (Sol-i-TAIRE!!!!!)
in the middle of the song..... the audience went bananas just like
all the young girls who screamed for Sinatra and the Beatles! His
fans, who appear to be mostly female, absolutely adore him. What a
phenomenon. Im so out of it, I had no idea how huge he is.
Before I tell you about the afterparty, I want to make it clear that
Daryl and I were paid absolutely nothing for our participation in
the show. The producer paid for our airfare, hotel rooms and transportation
to and from rehearsal and the concert. For every other expense we
encountered in New York, we were on our own. But the net profits for
the show go to a very good cause.... Elton Johns AIDS Foundation....
and we were happy to be there for Neil, and for Eltons worthy
cause. AND, we were able to do some promotion for our new releases
while we were there.
It was our understanding that, since some people were paying a great
deal of money to attend the party after the show, we were expected
to be there to meet, greet, sign autographs and pose for pictures.
I somehow had pictured a party of no more than 50 or 60 people...
100 at the max. I was also looking forward to seeing my niece, Laura
(Janes middle daughter), whom I had not seen for three or four
years. She and her friends had purchased their tickets long ago, and
we arranged for them to come to the party.
What greeted us when we arrived was a huge room with too many people
packed into it!!! If the fire department had been there, they would
have made everybody leave. People were jammed into the room like sardines
in a can. If you were afflicted with claustrophobia, you would have
been a dead duck. At the entrance to the main room, we posed for photos
with Neil and his wife, Leba, and then waded into the fray. I was
trying very hard to find my niece, a petite young woman. Becky finally
got her on her cell phone, and we guided her to the corner of the
room where we were. We were really unable to exchange more than a
few words, since there seemed to be a long line of people wanting
us to pose for photos and sign autographs.
This is what I know...... Natalie and Clay did NOT come to the afterparty.
Neil came, had a glass of wine, posed for a few photos, and was gone
within 45 minutes or so. I didnt see David Foster, Dion or Paul
Schaffer, so Im guessing they didnt come either. That
left me and Daryl, Renee Olstead (bless her heart, she was so tiny,
it would be hard to find her in that packed room) and Lou Christie.
After about fifteen minutes, during which time we posed for photo
after photo, and signed many, many autgraphs, I realized that my feet
were KILLING ME!!! I was still in heels (only two inches), and I hadnt
had heels on for so long, my feet were fiercely and painfully complaining.
Im certain that we were only getting that much attention because
we were the only celebrities anyone could find in the
After about an hour, people started leaving the party.
I was in so much pain with my feet, I couldnt wait to get out
of those heels! But everytime we tried to leave, someone would ask,
Oh, please, just one more photo, and so we stayed....
to the very end! By the time we finally made it to the elevator, we
were told that all of the cars taking the shows participants
back to their hotels were gone for the evening! It was still raining,
and we had no transportation.
Finally, a very nice young gal from Neils publicists office
went down in the rain, and found a cab for us.
And that is all I can write right now. Were leaving for Prescott
tomorrow morning, and I have a million things to do. Tell you what...
if you have specific questions about the event, please write to me,
and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability in my next
TAKE. By the way, my feet are finally feeling better!!! Until next
time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart!- LISTEN
- BACK TO LA QUINTA | RPO CHRISTMAS CONCERT
| GROUNDHOG DAY FOR THE DVDS | A BIT ABOUT DARYL
- BACK TO LA QUINTA
Daryl and I just returned to La Quinta a few days ago, and now we
are getting ready to fly to New York on Tuesday for the Sedaka Tribute
Construction of the new house in Prescott is coming along well,
but we are very nervous now, since we wont be there every
day to check on the construction and catch problems before they
become unfixable. We plan to drive back and forth between La Quinta
and Prescott every couple of weeks or so.....as often as we can
squeeze in a trip. Luckily, the drive is only 4 1/2 hours... a piece
of cake compared to the 10 hour drive we had from northern Nevada.
This is going to be a quick TAKE just to bring you up to date.
RPO CHRISTMAS CONCERT
I will be appearing in the Reno Philharmonic Orchestras SPIRIT
OF THE SEASON Christmas concert again this year. I was
unable to join them last year, but they invited me to sing with
them once again, and I just couldnt turn it down. The orchestra
is superb, the Christmas concert is lovely and charming, and Ill
get to see all of my dear northern Nevada friends. There is an evening
concert on Saturday, December 1st, and a matinee performance on
Sunday, December 2nd. For more details, please contact the Reno
Philharmonic office at 775 323 6393, or visit their website at http://www.renophil.com
Although the website doesnt mention my appearance in the concert,
be assured that I WILL be there!
GROUNDHOG DAY FOR THE DVDS
Now I want to speak to you about the product we are releasing this
year. As most of you who are regular readers know, the DVDs
of our three 1970s Specials for ABC...C&T in HAWAII, C&T
in NEW ORLEANS, the C&T SONGBOOK special..... and the 1976 C&T
CHRISTMAS SHOW have officially been released. The
C&T Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS, is due for release
November 6th, along with boxed sets of the three specials.
When I say released, that means they should be available
in stores, as well as online. I do know that Amazon is carrying the
DVDs right now. However, it is now seeming to me and Daryl that it
is Groundhog Day once again. I have received emails from several fans,
detailing how difficult (or impossible) it has been for them to find
the new DVDs in stores. I would infer from those emails, that the
DVDs are NOT in stores. This is exactly what happened last year. Needless
to say, Daryl and I are becoming more and more frustrated and upset.
THIS time it was going to be different. But it isnt.
Before I explain what I believe the main problem is, let me tell you
that Daryl and I, and our Personal Assistant, Becky, have been ready
to go with this project since MARCH of this year. We have had everything
ready for release, and were only waiting for the packaging to be completed,
and wed be on our way.
Well.... MONTHS went by, with delay after delay. Our publicist, The
Lippin Group, is one of the finest in the business, and they had been
anxiously awaiting the DVD promotional copies, so they could get them
to the media....newspapers, magazines, tv, radio, etc. The promo copies
finally arrived at Lippin, but many weeks late, during which time
we lost all sorts of media opportunities to let anyone who might be
interested know that the C&T DVDs are available for purchase.
We are now going through the same thing with the promo copies of the
Christmas CD. The bottom line is, if people dont know the product
is available, they wont look for it.
I understand that the promo copies for the Christmas CD (in beautiful
new packaging, I might add, including lyrics and personal notes about
each song) will finally be delivered to the publicist on Monday. That
is very late, but were going to do the best we can under the
Now here is what I believe the problem is. RetroActive Entertainment
is a very, very small company. And although the national distributers
(Navarre for the DVDs and Koch for the CD) are large and well-respected
distributers, they are catering more to their very large clients,
and letting the little guys wait. Thats just the
way the business works, and there is really nothing we can do about
it. Brant Berry, founder and President of RetroActive, is actually
a big fan of ours, and is doing the best he can under the circumstances.
Also, because of piracy, copying and file sharing, profit to the retailers,
releasing companies and distributers is drastically down. The music
business is in the middle of a huge sea change, and we have yet to
see how it will all sort out. Daryl and I frankly dont expect
to receive or care about any monetary profit to us. It would be NICE,
but we dont expect it. We are very pragmatic about the state
of the business right now. We just want to get the music out to you.
Unfortunately, we need these other entities to make it happen.
So here is what I would like for you to do. Please email me your experiences
in trying to purchase any of our product. Did you find it in a store,
or did you order it online? And, if so, which stores and which online
companies did you use? How long did it take you to get the product?
How did you find out about the product? This will be very helpful
to us as we try to determine what is going on out there in the real
A BIT ABOUT DARYL
Now....on to other, a bit more personal, matters. Some of you have
heard me mention that Daryl has developed a tremor. He has actually
had it quite a while, but to a much lesser degree. It is NOT Parkinsons
Disease, thank God.
Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S
DISEASE. - - Read
He was thoroughly checked out a couple of years ago for Parkinsons
at Stanford Medical Center by one of the top neurologists in the country.
His condition is called Familial Tremor, and it is exacerbated by
stress and anxiety.
The problem is, whenever he is involved in a public appearance or
social situation, the tremor causes him embarrassment, which then
makes him anxious, which then makes the tremor worse. You get the
picture. Consequently, he is less and less inclined to appear in public.
Also, his knees are just about ready for replacement, something he
has been putting off for decades. The pain is at a point now where
it is physically interfering with many things he likes to do, such
as hiking and walking, or things he SHOULD be doing, like kneeling
to put air in the tires or pick up an item he has dropped. Luckily,
Prescott has a very fine orthopedic knee surgeon, whom Daryl has already
consulted. Did I mention that anxiety about impending knee surgery
also makes his tremor more pronounced?
Now we just have to decide WHEN he will have the surgery. We will
have to finish the new house and get ourselves moved in before we
undertake the surgery and the rehab that will precede and follow it.
This situation is going to postpone any concerts we might want to
do until Daryl is fully recovered. Life deals you the cards, and then
you must decide what to do with them. Ill keep you posted.
And now, as my sister, Louisa, always says, Im off to
do a million things before we leave for New York. Until next
time... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.-
GOODBYE, MONSOON | AUTUMN IN NEW YORK | YOUR MAKEUP QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Monsoon season here in Arizona went out with a wild deluge last Saturday.
After a week or so of dry, sunny weather, we were beginning to think
the monsoon, with its sometimes violent thnderstorms, stunning cloud
formations, and heavy rains was over for this year. Hubble, our thunder-phobic
Australian Shepherd was as happy and relaxed as I have seen him since
the monsoon began.
Then the monsoon
gods laughed and threw everything they had left down on little Prescott.
Hubble cowered and shook and panted as the lightning and thunder raged
outside, especially when one lightning strike flashed and cracked
with a tremendous BOOM within a block of the house.
After that, the storms swelled and ebbed all day long, with one brief
period of sunshine. Its over. NO IT ISNT!! More lightning
and thunder into the night, finally subsiding, I THINK, until next
I must say that, after that big bang so close to the house,
Hubble actually began to calm down a bit. It really surprised me when
he hardly flinched when he heard the rumble of thunder not far off.
He even accepted a treat, which he has never done during the storms.
Maybe he was just too tired to react anymore. Next year, when the
new house is finished, he will have a special hidey-hole in an interior
closet, where he can ride out the monsoon in a dark, quiet, safe spot.
AUTUMN IN NEW YORK
We are coming close to the time when we will return to our home in
La Quinta, CA until after the first of the year. We have quite a bit
of traveling to do to promote the release of our ABC Specials on DVD
and the Christmas CD, and it is much easier to fly back and forth
from the Palm Springs airport than it is from here in Prescott. The
nearest airport is Sky Harbor in Phoenix... a ninety minute drive
from Prescott (if traffic is moving well). We also have some promo
to do in Los Angeles, which is a relatively easy drive from La Quinta.
I dont have a promo schedule yet, but as soon as I do, I will
post it in TONIS TAKE.
We will be in New York City October 22-27. Our main reason for going
is to appear in the tribute to Neil Sedakas fifty years of writing
great music. (Neil
Sedakas Fifty Years of Songwriting .) The event will be
held on October 26th at Lincoln Centers Avery Fisher Hall, with
all net proceeds going to Elton Johns AIDS Foundation. Although
most of you who are regular readers know that Daryl and I HATE to
travel, we felt we should be there to pay tribute to Neil. After all,
he wrote (mostly in collaboration with Howie Greenfield) three of
our million-selling hit singles (LOVE
WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, LONELY NIGHT/ANGEL FACE and YOU NEVER DONE
LIKE THAT), as well as many other terrific songs we were privileged
Heres what I know about what we will be doing in the concert.
Daryl and I will perform LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER (our version)
on our own in the first half of the show. Then we will do LONELY NIGHT/ANGEL
FACE (Neils version) as a duet with Neil in the second half.
As you know, Neils version is quite different from ours....
no jungle sounds!!!! Im going to have to take a listen to Neils
recording of the song to remind myself how he sings it to make sure
my phrasing complements his.
We will perform only those two songs, since there are at least TEN
acts in the show, and time is limited. The latest act to be added
to the show... as far as I know.... is Connie
Francis, who had SO many hits singing Neil and Howies songs
back in the 50s. WHERE THE BOYS ARE comes to mind, among many others.
I always thought she had a great voice.... perfect for radio. It caught
your ear as you were changing stations, and you simply had to stop
and listen to her. I am looking forward to seeing her. We may have
met once briefly, years ago, at some event or the other, but we certainly
didnt have a converation of any sort.... just hi, nice to meet
you. While were in New York for Neils concert, well
also do some promo for our DVDs and the Christmas CD, and as soon
as I know what well be doing, Ill pass it on to you.
YOUR MAKEUP QUESTIONS ANSWERED
On another subject, after Daryl posted the interview we did for CASPERS
SCARE SCHOOL with SIDEWALKS, a show out of San Francisco, I received
some very nice emails to TONIS TAKE, saying how nice we looked.
Thank you. It is getting harder and harder to look nice
as we get older and older, but great lighting really helps! More than
a few of you asked about my makeup, and wanted to know who does it,
and what cosmetics I use.
First of all, whenever I think I can get away with it, I run around
town with NO makeup on..... but Im always hoping I dont
meet anyone who wants to take a photo with me!
I do my makeup myself, and have for years. Of course, during our television
show, I simply didnt have time to do it, and we always needed
a makeup person standing by while we were taping, to make sure that
we didnt get shiney or smudgey, or sweat all the
makeup off. I still have a makeup artist standing by during a long
photo session, even though I do my own makeup for the shoot.
However, for concerts, and even for photo shoots, I found I was much
more comfortable doing my own makeup... mainly because I do it much
faster, and I am always looking for a natural look. Many makeup artists
want to cake on the foundation, and load on the false eyelashes.
I look HORRIBLE with false eyelashes, and they absolutely drive
me crazy anyway. It took me a while before I was confident doing my
own makeup, but I had just had too many bad experiences with makeup
artists who tried to make me look glamorous. Im
not the glamorous type. I always think of myself as just a regular
person who happens to sing and write songs for a living. When I call
someone regular, that is the highest compliment I can
pay to them. That means they dont put on airs or
play games. It is hard to find regular people
in our business, although there are some exceptions. Ella Fitzgerald
was regular. So was Dinah Shore.
Anyhow..... back to makeup. Right now I am using Maybelline
Instant Age Rewind (I wish!!!) Foundation, which I put on pretty sparingly
with my fingers. It covers my trouble spots pretty well, without having
to plaster it on. I use a concealer that is not on the market. It
was given to me by my dermatologist... his wife created it, but never
marketed it. When this runs out, Ill have to find another one.
I use Maybelline mascara, both regular and waterproof, in black. I
also like the Maybelline and Sonia Kashuk (Target) matte eyeshadows....
shades of brown work best for me. I line my eyes, top and bottom,
with dark brown matte eye shadow, using a fine brush. I use a very
light brown shade of eye shadow on my poor, fading eyebrows. I brush
it on with a small angled brush.
I am always looking for a transparent powder to set everything (after
blotting thoroughly with a tissue), and Im now using Dermablend
Setting Powder. It has no color of its own, and doesnt affect
the color of my makeup base.
Im using Physicians Formula Mineral Wear blush in the
Pink Glow shade. Note: Use SPARINGLY!!!! When Im done, I brush
Physicians Formula Multi-Colored Light Bronzer over my entire
face, neck and throat. Women my age tend to lose warmth and color
in the face....and we certainly dont want to lie out in the
sun and get MORE wrinkles!!!! The Light Bronzer is subtle, but it
does the trick.
I hope that answers some of your questions!
Please remember that I am probably NOT going to be writing every week
as I used do. Life is just about to get extremely hectic. Not only
are we in the middle of building the new house, but were going
to be packing up and heading back to La Quinta in less than two weeks.
And well also be traveling quite a bit. I promise to write as
often as I can. Thank you all for being such faithful readers. Until
next time.... Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.- LISTEN
PRESCOTT UPDATE | FALL DVD / CD PROMO AND RELEASE SCHEDULE | MY PAVAROTTI
- PRESCOTT UPDATE
Autumn is almost upon us, and I simply cannot believe how fast the
summer went by. We broke ground for our new home here in Prescott
the first week of May. Although the progress on the construction seems
agonizingly slow, it is actually pretty much on schedule. The exterior
walls are up, most of the interior walls have been framed, the sub
roof is on, the shingles have been delivered and are waiting to be
loaded onto the roof to settle for a few weeks before
they are installed. The windows are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow,
although the contractor is not quite ready to install them just yet.
Daryl and I go out to the site almost every day to check on the progress.
It actually seems a bit eerie to go through the house now, since it
is almost an exact copy of our northern Nevada home. It is even sited
exactly the same..... courtyard facing south, kitchen window looking
east, etc. However, the views from the windows could not be more different!
Instead of seeing the Sierras and the Virginia Range of mountains,
we see Granite
Mountain to the south, and a pair of flat-topped buttes to the
north. The house, and all the decisions that need to be made daily,
have been taking up quite a bit of our time. But because we are out
at the construction site so often, we have caught small problems before
they developed into big ones.
I must say that we are loving Prescott more and more as each day goes
by. It is really a kind of leap of faith to move to an entirely new
state and community. You can do all the research you want, and make
as many visits as possible before making your decision, but you absolutely
have to LIVE in a community before you really know if you made the
right choice. After having lived here all summer in our little rental
house, Daryl and I feel certain that we did make the right decision....
the friendly people, the healthy lifestyle, the history, the art scene,
the scenic beauty, the weather... all suit us and our lifestyle perfectly.
We are looking forward to next year, when the new house is finished
and we can really settle in and start to contribute to our new community.
Ive written a Christmas song for California (CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA),
and one for Lake Tahoe (TAHOE SNOW). Perhaps I could write a PRESCOTT
Christmas song. After all, Prescott is called ARIZONAS
Now, however, we have to get ready to head back to our home in La
Quinta and get ready for our promo trips this fall. We will be tied
up with all of that until after the first of the year, when we will
return to Prescott and remain here until the new home is finished.
I guess what I am saying is.... life is hectic right now, so please
forgive me if I am not punctual with Tonis Take each week. I
may even have skip a week now and then until after the first of the
FALL DVD/CD PROMO AND RELEASE SCHEDULE
Next month, Daryl and I will be flying to New York to appear at
Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in a tribute to Neil
Sedakas Fifty Years of Songwriting. Natalie Cole and Clay
Aiken are among the other artists who will perform during the show.
I have absolutely no idea how much or how little we will do during
the show, since that is up to Neils producer, and we havent
discussed it yet. I assume we will perform LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER.
Im not sure whether it will be OUR version, or Neils.
They are quite different, as you know. If Neil decides to sing it
with us, we will probably do his version, since it IS Neils
Im sure the concert will be very enjoyable for the audience.
Neil is a GREAT performer, and Im pretty certain he will be
participating in almost every musical number. Knowing Neil, I feel
sure he wont be sitting in the audience! I also suspect that
things will be pretty hectic and frantic backstage, as these kinds
of things always are. As soon as I know more about how the concert
will proceed, I will try to let you know exactly what songs Daryl
and I will be performing. I hope to see some of you there! The concert
will be held on October 26th. You can find more information about
the Sedaka Tribute at this link: http://www.sedaka50.com/
For those of you who have asked about release
dates of our ABC Specials on DVD, here is the schedule
we have been given by RetroActive Entertainment:
- TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9TH - Release of the individual DVDs...The
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, the NEW ORLEANS SPECIAL, the HAWAII SPECIAL and
the SONGBOOK SPECIAL.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH - Release of THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS CD
and a three-DVD boxed set of the NEW ORLEANS, HAWAII and SONGBOOK
I have been told that Amazon.com will be accepting pre-orders for
the individual DVDs one month prior to the scheduled release date
(October 9th). You should be able to find them in stores after the
scheduled release dates. Notice I say SHOULD...... we had such a
terrible and disappointing time last year with R2 Entertainments
collapse, we are nervous to say ANYTHING, lest we jinx
it all!!!! But well keep a positive thought this time!
MY PAVAROTTI STORY
And now to Maestro
Luciano Pavarottis recent passing. I had the great privilege
him sing in person in 1983. We were in the midst of
building our home at Lake Tahoe at the time, and our architect invited
us to attend a concert by the great tenor in Reno, Nevada. Many of
you know that I am a great fan of opera, and Daryl and I lent our
support to Nevada Opera for many years, occasionally doing local concerts
on their behalf.
My only concern was the venue. It was held in the basketball arena
(Lawler Events Center) at the University of Nevada at Reno (UNR).
Now, I dont have a problem with rock or pop concerts in huge
arenas.... some acts are so big, they require a large venue. But a
concert by an opera singer seemed out of place there. Still, the opportunity
to hear the great singer in person overcame any doubts I had about
where he would be singing.
The concert was sponsored, in part, by Harrahs... one of the
major casinos in town. The head of the entertainment office at Harrahs
invited us to meet Pavarotti at Harrahs after the concert, and
I jumped at the chance.
For some reason, Daryl didnt go with us that night... I cant
remember why. The concert was excellent, and the sound was very well
Pavarotti was accompanied by a full symphony orchestra, and, although
he had to use a microphone because of the size of the place, it was
not a distraction to me.
When he made his first entrance onstage, the audience went bananas....
jumping up from their seats, cheering, shouting, yelling bravos...
all this before he sang a note. He was VERY large in size, but he
sailed onto the stage, huge white handkerchief in hand, like a large,
graceful sailing ship, his famous wide smile beaming his joy to the
His voice was magnificent.... strong and vibrant throughout his entire
vocal range... from the low notes to the ringing high Cs.
His technique was effortless, and his personal charisma filled the
space.... larger than life, indeed.
Yes, when you saw him in an opera, rather than in concert, it was
very hard to believe this hulking man as a young, starving poet in
BOHEME, or a handsome, strong military man in TOSCA,
and I must say I like my opera singers to look and act the parts they
are singing. But you didnt go to hear Pavarotti sing because
he was a great actor... or even just an adequate one. You went to
hear him sing because the voice was one in a lifetime... because you
are unlikely to ever hear a voice like his again.
Later, I had my very own Pavarotti Moment when
I was taken to meet him at Harrahs after the show. The Vice
President of Harrahs introduced me to the Maestro. He was seated,
signing posters and programs for the very lucky people who were in
line. Maestro, Id like to you to meet one of our most
famous singing stars here in the United States, Toni Tennille,
said the Harrahs executive. Pavarotti looked up at me (he had
no clue who I was, of course), beamed his brilliant smile, grasped
my hand in his HUGE hand, kissed it, and said in his wonderful Italian
accent, You no have-a to tell-a me shes a beeg star....she
is so BEE-U-Ti-FOOL!!!! I promptly fainted.
No I didnt. But it is a moment I will always remember!
And now, as my sister, Louisa, says....Im off to do a million
things! Until next week (or whenever I can sit down to write again)
Keep A Song OF Joy Inside Your Heart.-
DARYLS FIRST PRESCOTT BIRTHDAY | A SATELLITE TOUR | LENTILS
- DARYLS FIRST PRESCOTT BIRTHDAY
Im gonna bake a batch of cookies and a great big pie
just to show him that I love him so
- from BOOGIE BABY CHRISTMAS by Toni Tennille
Today is Daryls birthday.... his first birthday in our new
town of Prescott, Arizona, and hopefully the first of many, many
birthdays he and I will celebrate here. Daryl is not particularly
thrilled that today is his SIXTY-FIFTH birthday. He is now receiving
mail from Medicare and Social Security, and that kind of disturbs
him, because he knows he must REALLY be 65 in order to be receiving
Every year for his birthday, for Thanksgiving and for Christmas,
I make a legal pie for Daryl. I just now took one of
his favorite pies out of the oven, and the wonderful scent of apples
and cinnamon is filling this little rental house. THAT should make
him feel much better!
For those of you who are not long-time readers, Ill explain
that legal, to Daryl, means that I make the pie crust
with whole wheat flour, and I use honey instead of refined sugar
for the filling. I used to struggle and get very cranky trying to
wrestle with a home-made whole wheat crust, but now I buy frozen
whole wheat pie crusts at our local whole foods market, and it just
makes things MUCH easier!
About six weeks ago, I bought a tee shirt for Daryl that I thought
he would get a kick out of. It said, OLD
GUYS RULE. Well, he wouldnt wear it. I dont
think he liked the word old. However, a few days ago
he finally wore it, and it looked great on him. And, actually, old
guys DO rule.... they are wiser, smarter, and more interesting to
be around. Maybe I just think so because Im an OLD GAL.
But for a man to have been around the block a few times, survived
the slings and arrows of life and come out the better for it, makes
kind of man that interests ME.
There is no doubt that, since we are now in our mid sixties, we
are considered old. Well....maybe young
old...but still old. I also remind my dear husband that I am older
than he is, and Im doing just fine.
As we usually do, we spent Daryls birthday at home together....
just the two of us. Daryl doesnt enjoy large gatherings, and
a birthday party for him would only make him miserable. So I baked
him his special apple pie and made one of his favorite healthy,
vegetarian dinners (recipe to follow).
By the way, thank all of you who wrote to send birthday wishes to
Daryl. He loved reading them, and was very happy to know so many
of you were thinking of him.
A SATELLITE TOUR
Recently Daryl and I did a Satellite Tour on behalf of the release
of CASPERS SCARE SCHOOL
on DVD. Some of you may know what a satellite tour entails, but I
thought you might be interested in how it is done. When you watch
celebrities promoting a movie or CD, and they are not physically on
the set with the host, but instead are appearing on a television screen
in the studio, they are doing a satellite tour.
It is much easier and less expensive to make appearances on television
shows around the country via satellite than it is to actually GO to
these cities. The CASPER releasing company, Genius Products, arranged
to have a satellite
truck, complete with a director, sound and lighting crew and makeup
artist, drive to Prescott from Phoenix. Daryl and I and our assistant,
Becky, met the crew and the representative from Genius Products at
6AM in the morning at the Prescott Conference Center, where they had
created a set for us in front of a large CASPERS SCARE SCHOOL
poster. We had to get started so early in the morning in order to
connect with the morning television shows in the eastern time zone.
I always do my own makeup and hair, so I had gotten up that morning
at 4AM in order to clean the cat litter boxes, set out food and water
for all the animals, walk the dogs (in the dark), and get myself camera-ready
before we had to leave for the set. Daryl has to be made up on the
set, since I really dont know how to do a mans makeup
(and dont really WANT to know).
Once the lighting and sound check were done, we were ready to go.
Daryl and I each had earpieces so we could hear the satellite tour
director and the people who would be interviewing us from around the
country. We werent able to actually SEE anybody we were talking
to, but just talked right into the camera lens.
We would hear the director in our earpieces saying, Now you
will be talking to Marie in Miami at such and such a station.
Then wed hear Maries voice, and wed be off and running.
This went on for 2 1/2 hours, with one short break.... station after
station. Many times wed answer the same questions over and over
I am pretty good at this sort of thing, but it takes a quite a lot
mental concentration, especially that early in the morning! Daryl
and I are very early risers, but we arent really THINKING at
that time.... just walking the dogs and reading the paper. On a satellite
tour you have to be ready to jump right into each interview with enthusiasm
and keep your facts straight. Daryl can keep it going for about 20
minutes, and then his
attention starts to wander.
Im a Taurus.... plodding, methodical and patient. Daryl is a
Virgo.... creative, intelligent and totally LACKING in patience! Once
he has answered a question, he really doesnt want to answer
the same question AGAIN.... at least, not the SAME way he answered
it before, even if it is a completely different interview. This can
make for some very interesting answers from Daryl. As we went from
interview to interview with our faceless hosts, I had to work hard
to keep MYSELF with it, much less helping Daryl to stay
On our C&T home page,
Daryl has posted one of the interviews we did that morning. It was
with a young host named Rafael for a show called SIDEWALKS out of
San Francisco. I think this interview was about the fifth or sixth
one that morning, and Daryl had just about HAD it by that time! You
can see Daryl kind of going off on tangents as the interview progressed.
If you look closely towards the end of the interview, you can
see me not-so-gently jab Darylwith
my elbow. That was the only way I could remind him we needed to wrap
up the interview!
At 9AM we finished the last interview, and frankly, I was pooped.
I had not slept well, knowing I had to get up so early. Daryl was
tired, too. However, a satellite tour is definitely MUCH easier than
packing a suitcase, getting on a plane, and flying to all those cities.
And I have to say that the Phoenix satellite director and crew were
absolutely wonderful! They were professional in every way, and made
things as easy and comfortable for us as they could. And, boy, did
I appreciate the excellent lighting!!!
LENTILS VINAIGRETTE -
Here is the recipe for LENTILS VINAIGRETTE, the dish I made
for Daryl on his birthday. It takes a while to prepare, but
it is delicious, and the leftover lentil mixture keeps well
in the fridge for a couple of days. I hope you enjoy it as
much as we do.
1 1/2 cups lentils
1 quart water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 pound (about 2 quarts) mixed salad greens
Ground pepper to taste
Put the lentils in a medium saucepan with the water and 1/2
teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer,
partially covered, until the lentils are tender...about 25
minutes. Drain and return to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of
the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon
salt. Mix gently and set aside.
After the lentils have been cooking for a while, heat 3 tablespoons
olive oil in a large frying pan, over moderately low heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent
(about 5 minutes). Add the carrots, celery, and 1 teaspoon
salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are
tender...about 10 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the heat and add 2 tablespoons
of the vinegar. Combine the cooked lentils with the vegetables.
In a small frying pan, toast the sliced almonds over moderately
low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown.....about
5 or 10 minutes. You can do this ahead of time, if you like.
Shortly before serving, stir the toasted almonds and chopped
parsley into the lentil mixture.
Put the salad greens in a large bowl and toss with the remaining
3 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Serve the lentil mixture over the greens. Makes enough for
six to eight people. Healthy and delicious!
And remember, you can adjust the salt in the recipe according
to your own taste and health requirements.
Until next time.....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart-
- AN EARLY MORNING VISITOR | MARVELOUS MERV
- AN EARLY MORNING VISITOR
Early this morning, around 3AM, I let Hubble out on the deck. If there
are no thunderstorms about, he likes to lie out there until Daryl
and I get up around 6AM. This morning, just before six, we were startled
awake by Hubbles HUGE alarm bark... HAAHOOOOOOOOOOO...
Rarf! Rarf!! Rarf!!! !... HAAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!......
What in the heck is THAT?? I said, jumping out of bed
to see what was going on. By that time Adelaide, who was still inside
the house, had joined in the barking, and was pawing at the front
door to get outside.
When I opened the door, she rushed past me to join Hubble as they
barked frantically at something beyond the trees and shrubs on the
far side of the yard, next to the road. Soon both dogs changed directions
and ran along the deck towards the garage.
And, suddenly, there it was. In the early morning light, looking like
some kind of weird visitor from another planet, my firstjavelina....
a large male, trotting along the road, oblivious to the wild barking
of the dogs. He didnt even look in our direction. I called to
Daryl to come outside to see the big guy, but Daryl wasnt too
thrilled about appearing on the deck in his underwear (I was in my
pajamas), so he missed the whole thing.
I have seen javelinas in zoos and in photographs, but that simply
cannot prepare you for seeing one strolling along your neighborhood
street. This guy was big.... Id guess around seventy pounds
or more... but he was traveling alone. Ive been told that javelinas
usually travel in family groups of up to eight or ten or even more.
This guy might have been ousted from the pack.... or maybe he just
wanted to go out for his morning walk without having to deal with
the kids and the inlaws. In any event, it was pretty exciting to me.
Im used to seeing deer, coyotes, bears, bobcats, skunks and
such, but NEVER a creature as weird-looking as a javelina. Once again,
welcome to Arizona!!!
I confess I always thought that Merv
Griffin would live to be a hundred. A few years ago I read that
he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but many elderly men live
with prostate cancer, and die from something else much later in their
lives, so I kind of forgot about it. I was certain Merv would be around
for many years to come, because he was one of the most cheerful, positive,
joyous, happy people I have ever known. You simply could not be in
a bad mood when you were around him. His great, jovial personality
and zest for life filled any room he entered with instant warmth and
Daryl and I first met Merv in the mid 70s when we were guests on his
talk show, as we were several times during our career. I liked Merv
the minute I met him. I loved his genuine enthusiasm for our music,
and his interview technique. I say technique
with tongue in cheek, because Mervs interviews always stemmed
from his honest interest in whomever he was interviewing at the time.
Lets contrast Merv with some other talk show hosts of the time...
Ill let you decide who Im talking about. Often hosts had
a set list of questions to ask... usually questions written by their
producer.... and nothing would make them deviate from that script,
certainly not actually LISTENING to the person they were interviewing.
During the show, there was usually an assistant standing off camera,
just behind the guest, with all of the pre-prepared questions written
on a cue card. No matter what the guest said in response to a question,
the host would read the next question on the list, even if it turned
out to be a total non sequiter... sometimes with hilarious results.
Many times, when you were responding to a question, you would see
the hosts eyes focused just beyond you, trying to read the next
question on the cue card, so you KNEW he wasnt listening to
what you were saying. It was very disconcerting, and actually kind
of funny. With Merv, however, you had an actual CONVERSATION....fancy
After my first Big Band album, MORE
THAN YOU KNOW, was released in 1984, Merv often had me on his
show to sing some of the great standards. He always raved about my
arrangements, most of which were done by the great Sammy
Nestico, and he always praised my singing. I remember that he
especially loved a swinging arrangement Sammy did for me of a tune
called EASY STREET, and insisted that I sing it on his show.
Later on, he invited me to participate in Big Band shows he would
put on at the hotel he owned in Atlantic City. That was SO much fun.
Merv always brought in the finest musicians on the east coast to play
in the orchestra. And he always put me up in a beautiful suite, complete
with a grand piano!
I met the famous Big Band singer,
Helen OConnell, who sang with the Jimmy Dorsey band in the
30s and 40s, at one of Mervs shows. She was in her seventies
then, and absolutely GORGEOUS!
I also met Mervs longtime close friend,
Eva Gabor, who was absolutely delightful and even more lovely
in person than she was on television. She was down to earth and utterly
charming. When I admired a beautiful pale blue pleated chiffon gown
she was wearing, she gave me the name, address and phone number of
the man who designed it for her, and encouraged me to call him, saying
he could do something equally as lovely for me! She also told me,
in her charming Hungarian accent, Women should always put pink
lightbulbs in their lamps, because it makes their skin look so much
more beautiful! As she said this she pointed to the wall sconce
backstage into which she had installed, of course, a PINK lightbulb!
And she was right!!! We all looked much prettier lit by the soft glow
of that pink bulb.
But, at a rehearsal break for one of his shows in Atlantic City, I
found out something about Merv
I did not know. He was a FABULOUS pianist! While most everyone was
on a break, he wandered over to the piano, sat down, and started to
play. A few of us sat or stood around the piano and called out names
of songs, and he invariably knew every one of them, and played them
beautifully....verses, too! Amazing. Even some of the lesser known
songs of the 30s, 40s and 50s, he knew and played from memory.
Yes, Merv was a Renaissance Man.... Talk Show Host, Singer, Musician,
Horseman, Hotelier, Creative Businessman, among many other things.
I was so pleased to read all the wonderful things people said and
wrote about Merv when news of his passing hit the media. Isnt
that just how you would like people to speak of you when you pass
on? But first and foremost, Merv was a lover of people, of music,
of life, and the world is a much better place for his having been
And now Im off to clean
the kitchen before bedtime! I never did get all that ironing done
last week....only half of it! Until next week....Keep A Song of
Joy Inside Your Heart.-
HELP FOR HUBBLES TROUBLES | A LAZY
PRESCOTT AFTERNOON | CHOOSING SONGS | MY SPACE PAGE NOT OFFICIAL
| DARYLS SISTER. CARMEN | UPCOMING PROMO AND EVENTS
- HELP FOR HUBBLES
I have had so many thoughtful and helpful emails with suggestions
for ways to help Hubbles Thunderstorm Phobia. Quite a few of
you wrote to say that your dog was Thunder Phobic, too. I never knew
how very common this condition is in dogs.
Well, Im happy to say that we have had a break in the Arizona
Monsoon for the past few days, and Hubble is wag-tail happy! He is
his old cheerful, confident, funny self. It is hard to look at him
now and imagine how this happy dog could shake, tremble, pant and
cower in fear when the storms roll in.... actually BEFORE the storms
arrive! He knows they are coming long before we do.
After trying all sorts of herbal and homeopathic remedies, including
putting lavendar oil on his collar and rubbing him down with a dryer
sheet (to supposedly reduce the electrical charge he is sensing),
we have finally settled on giving him a doggy Xanax (Ace-Promazine)
as soon as we estimate the storm is aproaching, and before he really
gets agitated. I checked with three veterinarians.... our Prescott
vet, our vet in La Quinta, and a veterinarian friend up in northern
Nevada..... to make sure this would not harm him, and all three assured
me he could take it as needed throughout the monsoon season and have
no ill effects.
In the new home we are building in Prescott, there is an interior
bathroom located just off the breakfast area. We were going to put
a Solatube in there to bring in some daylight, but after watching
Hubble suffer through the storms, we have decided to eliminate the
Solatube so the room can be made quite dark and provide a refuge for
him. We are also going to soundproof
the walls and ceiling, so it wil be extremely quiet (maybe we
could record in there!!!). We are hoping this little dark, quiet space
will offer Hubble a place to feel safe when the monsoon
hits next year.
A LAZY PRESCOTT AFTERNOON
Saturday, August 11th
Where is the summer going??? Days are flying by, and I am constantly
feeling guilty about tasks I have not gotten done. I have a mile-high
pile of ironing to do, among other things. Mostly, I need quiet time
to sit down and write TONIS TAKE.
As I write this, I am sitting on the deck of our little rental house
among the pine and oak-covered hills in Prescott with the computer
balanced on a pillow on my lap. It is a beautiful afternoon.... warm,
with a light breeze, and white, puffy clouds floating about in a heavenly
blue sky. I can hear the raucus call of the huge ravens
that seem to be everywhere in Prescott, the cartoon laugh of the Acorn
Woodpeckers, and the peeps and twitters of various
chickadees, finches, and other little birds I have yet to identify.
Occasionally there is the drone of a single engine plane passing overhead.
It is a lovely, lazy afternoon, and I am reminded of a lyric from
the great old standard by Hoagy Carmichael and Paul Francis Webster,
MEMPHIS IN JUNE....I can see old granny cross the street,
still a-rockin, watchin the neighbors go by. Well,
I feel like old granny right now, and it feels pretty
Adelaide is dozing on the floor next to me, one of her well-chewed
old stuffies nearby. Down below, beneath the deck, Hubble is watching
for any action he might spy on the road.... neighbors with their dogs,
kids on bicycles, the occasional
javelina (or jalapeno,
as Daryl calls them). And I am thinking to myself... I NEED to do
this more often... just sit here and look and listen.
I had an email recently asking how we chose the songs for our albums.
First of all, Daryl and I long ago made an agreement with each other
about which songs we would record. BOTH of us had to like the song....
otherwise.... no go. This rule could be frustrating, because once
in a while Id hear a song that I really wanted to sing, and
when I played it for Daryl, he would say he didnt like it at
all, and that was the end of that.
It was actually very difficult to find just the right songs because
we felt there were certain parameters we needed to stay within. For
example, we both felt that any song we recorded had to have a positive
lyric. We were concerned that our fans would interpret a sad song
as meaning there was something wrong in our relationship, and I believe
we were correct in that thinking. It was very limiting for both of
us musically, but we were pretty much stuck with a certain
image. Later on we began to slip in some tunes that didnt exactly
fit those guidelines, including some I wrote with other artists in
mind, such as THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME (Cher) and DONT FORGET
ME (Dolly Parton).
After our first album was such a success, we were deluged with demos
from publishing companies. There were more songs sent to us than we
could ever have had time to listen to, but we didnt want to
miss a good one, so we enlisted my sister, Louisa, to sift through
them. Louisa had great ears, and could tell within a few
bars if a tune might work for us. She made demo tapes for us with
about 30 seconds of several tunes from the current batch of submissions
so we could narrow them down. After we chose some to listen to, shed
send us the complete demo and the lead or lyric sheet.
It was very interesting sifting through all those songs. I would say
that at least 97% of them were just not particularly good or werent
right for us for one reason or another. About 3% would pique our interest
enough that we would listen to the complete demo, and if we found
one or two tunes that were strong possibles we were pretty
happy. And, of course, I always tried to write at least three or four
tunes of my own for each album.
There were so many things to consider.... were the lyrics well structured
and were they right for Captain and Tennille? Were the melody and
the style right for my particular voice? Was the music exciting, or
at least interesting, to Daryl? Since both of us poured so much of
ourselves into each song we recorded, it had to be the right
Now, thats not to say every song we recorded turned out as we
had hoped. There were a few.... which I will not name, since one of
them might be your favorite.... that, in our opinion, just didnt
hold up as well as we hoped. But we ALWAYS strived to make every song
on an album stand on its own.... no FILLERS!!!!! Many artists of the
time would record a couple of songs they were sure had a good shot
to be hits, and then record a bunch of what I call filler
tracks to complete the album..perhaps a mediocre song written by a
buddy. I always thought that was lazy and showed a lack of respect
for the people who purchased their albums.
My sister, Jane, also has great ears, and she found a
couple of very good songs for us. She was living in Nashville at the
time, and would go to the music publishing houses on Music
Row to see what they had that might be right for Captain and Tennille.
If she heard a good song, she passed it on to us.
We recorded one of the songs she found for us... a terrific sort of
country-style song called YOU NEED A WOMAN TONIGHT. I LOVED that song...
loved Daryls arrangement and production, and loved singing it.
It was released as a single, but never made it into the Top Ten for
us EXCEPT in the Northwest, where it was a big hit (thanks to all
of you up there)! Jane also found CANT STOP DANCIN...a
tune written by Ray Stevens.... for us while she was in Nashville.
She is a Hospice nurse now, but she would have been a great A&R
representative for one of the major record labels.
MY SPACE PAGE NOT OFFICIAL
I have had some emails mentioning our My Space page. We did not put
up that page, and we dont know who did. We never check it, so
I just want everyone to know that, if you write to us there, we wont
see it. It actually kind of bothers me that someone put up a My Space
page in our name without our permission. Seems to me that should be
OUR choice to do or not to do. And now that there is already a page
claiming to be ours, it would just confuse the issue if we tried to
put up one of our own. The internet has many flaws, and this kind
of thing is a real problem.
Many of you have asked about Daryls sister, Carmen. She is on
her third or fourth round of chemo to treat her cancer, and she is
doing well. She has her
own blog, and Im sure she would love to hear from some of
UPCOMING PROMO AND EVENTS
We are starting to do some promo for the upcoming DVD and Christmas
CD releases. We just did an interview yesterday for Marilyn Becks
syndicated column. If you see a mention in your local paper, please
let us know. We also did an interview with Nevada Magazine for their
November issue. They were particularly interested in the upcoming
release (October) of our Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS, and
one of the songs I wrote called TAHOE SNOW. I wrote it in 1984, the
first year Daryl and I lived in Nevada.
Also, we were just contacted by the makers of the CASPERS
SCARE SCHOOL movie which was aired on the Cartoon Network
last Halloween, asking us to do some promo for the release of CASPER
on DVD this October. Most of you regular readers know we did the voices
for a two-headed character in the CASPER movie and also recorded a
couple of songs for the score.
Next week we are doing a series of phone interviews for the print
media, and very possibly a satellite TV marathon to promote
CASPER. The satellite marathon involves our being in a studio, and
being interviewed by many tv stations around the country, one right
after another, via satellite. It is pretty exhausting, but you can
get to a lot of TV stations that way without having to get on a plane
and go to all those cities!!
Also, it looks like we WILL be appearing in the tribute to Neil Sedaka
at Lincoln Center in New York City this coming October. Neil has been
writing and singing hit records since he was about 14 years old, and
this tribute is well-deserved. LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, which Neil
wrote with Howie Greenfield, was our first hit record, and we recorded
many of Neils songs over the years....Y OU NEVER DONE IT LIKE
THAT, LONELY NIGHTS (both million sellers), LET MAMMA KNOW, and others.
Hopefully, one or two of you can get to New York for the show.
Well.... it is now time to tackle that pile of ironing Ive been
putting off for so long! I hope you all have a wonderful week. Until
next time...Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart!
ARIZONA WILDLIFE | HUBBLES MONSOON
TROUBLE | AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRYSLER
- ARIZONA WILDLIFE
Two fist-sized brown tarantulas and many thunderstorms later, we are
well into Arizonas famous Monsoon Season. The tarantulas appeared,
each on a separate evening, after a rainstorm, crab-walking their
way very slowly across the street. The first time I saw one of these
creatures, the dogs were sniffing at something in the middle of the
road, and when I pulled them away to see what had caught their interest,
there was one quite large, very disgruntled tarantula.
I leaned down to get a good look at it in the fading light, since
I had never seen one in the wild ....only in cages at
a zoo. I thought it was a very attractive spider, covered with pale
bronze and light brown fur. He seemed fairly cranky after
the dogs had sniffed him, so I left him to make his slow, deliberate
way to the other side of the road.
Now, if this had been a large snake
.....I would have been outta there ASAP! I dont mind the small
ones, like the Garter Snakes. And I dont mind lizards at all.
But the great big Diamond Back Rattlers, Gopher and King snakes that
live in this area are absolutely not my cup of tea. Im sure
I will cross paths with one or two while I live here, but it will
not be a happy meeting for me.
HUBBLES MONSOON TROUBLE
We have had thunderstorms here every day for the past 10 days or so.
As a rule, I dont mind them.... in fact, they are fairly exciting.
However, they have caused a great deal of stress for me, mainly because
our male Australian Shepherd, Hubble, suffers from Thunderstorm
Phobia, which is quite a common ailment for dogs, the vet told
Hubble knows there is a thunderstorm approaching even before we do
.....he somehow senses barometric and electrical changes in the atmosphere.
As soon as we hear the first clap of thunder, he is already shaking,
shivering, panting, and trying to hide. He is literally terrified.
I have had panic attacks before, so I know what he is feeling, and
it breaks my heart to see him so distressed.
We have tried several different herbal and homeopathic remedies, but
none have worked. The vet gave me a tranquilizer for him, but we have
to give it to him at least one half hour before the first sound of
If he is already shaking and panting, it is too late to give it because
it wont be effective.
Since we are in a small rental house here in Prescott, we cannot leave
him alone during a storm, or if one is expected, because we are afraid
he will do damage to the house in his panic. This has left us pretty
much tied to the house. Only one of us can leave at a time, since
someone has to be here with him to medicate him if a storm is approaching.
This situation has really put a dent in our social life for now. No
dinners out until the monsoon is over! The locals tell me it could
end soon after Labor Day. Lets see ....that means about five
weeks before we can go out to dinner!!! Oh, well ....it cant
be helped. We love this little guy ....we raised him from a six-week
old puppy ....and were sticking
Because of the thunder storms, I have had to turn my computer off
for hours at a time, so I have been unable to concentrate on writing
TONIS TAKE. As you know, I try to get it written by Sunday morning,
so Daryl can post it to the website that day. I realize I have been
fairly erratic in my postings since we arrived in Prescott, but please
be assured I am trying to keep to my schedule.
Besides the monsoon, we have many things going on that demand our
attention. We are in the process of building what we hope will be
our last home, and that requires all sorts of meetings with the builders
and suppliers, and many, many decisions. And, by the way, I am truly
touched by those of you who wrote, worried that I might be ill since
I havent written in a while. No...I am FINE! Just very busy
with the new home, and worried a lot about Hubble.
AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRYSLER
I had an email recently with a question about my 1980 syndicated talk
show, THE TONI
TENNILLE TALK/VARIETY SHOW. The writer said he had
heard that I had interviewed a very well-known celebrity of the time,
and he had heard that the celebrity was obviously on drugs at the
time of the interview. He wanted to know the persons name.
Well, I would never reveal the persons name, but I can tell
you this .....he made his name on Saturday Night Live in the early
days, and went on to have a fairly successful movie career. Well
call him Chrysler. Chrysler was very much in demand as
a guest on many of the shows of the day. My producers were excited
when he agreed to appear on my show.
However, Chrysler made many, many demands regarding the circumstances
of his appearance. He would not appear live on the show, as every
other guest did. He insisted that we pre-tape his interview in an
empty studio, so the entire production team had to come in at a special
time to tape his segment. He was late, totally unprofessional, and
kept disappearing into the bathroom every 1/2 hour or so (I suspected
that he was much too young to have had prostate trouble).
The thing I remember most about Chrysler
was how absolutely rude he was to me and the staff. His answers to
almost every question I asked him were snide and supercilious. It
was all I could do to continue the interview, since I could tell it
was going absolutely nowhere. We finally finished the interview,
such as it was, and I was more than grateful when it was over and
he left the studio. Ill have to say that never before, or since,
have I had an experience like that with another celebrity.
On his behalf, though, I understand that Chrysler has cleaned up his
act, and gave up drugs quite a few years ago. I truly hope that he
has found some happiness. In my unpleasant experience with him, despite
his fame, he certainly did not seem like a happy man.
Overall, I was quite pleased with what we were able to accomplish
on my talk/variety show ...especially the music! I had some fabulous
musical guests, and I also had a wonderful small band of great musicians
who made the music so much fun! I was even able to persuade Daryl
to appear every now and then!
In a future TONIS TAKE, I will get more specific about the show.
What was great about it, and what was really hard about it ...and
how and why it ended one year later.
That is all for now. Hang in with me in the next few weeks. After
the monsoon season is over, Im hoping Hubble and I will return
to normal. Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside
ROOT CANAL | TENNILLE CUT |
NEW RELEASES | LOVELY EMAIL TO SHARE
- ROOT CANAL
Many thanks to all of you who wrote, worried about my possible root
canal. I was almost certain that was what was causing the pain in
my jaw, and what felt like a knot in the side of my neck. The dentist
took a look at the tooth last Saturday, and said she thought it
might be an old root canal gone bad, so she referred me to an endodontist.
On Monday the endodontist poked, prodded, tapped on and x-rayed
the suspected tooth. Then he said, Toni, I cannot see a thing
that indicates you have an infection in that tooth. Have you been
grinding your teeth at night? Well, I have never ground my
teeth that I know of, and Daryl says he has never seen me doing
it, so I told him no.
He then asked if I were under any stress right now. HAH!!! Lets
see..... we are in the middle of moving to a brand new town in a
brand new state. We are building a new home. Daryl and I and the
three cats and two dogs are living in a very small rental house
while we keep an eye on the construction. You could say it is waaay
too cozy in here. Actually, this little house is not much bigger
than our Butterscotch Castle from way back in 1974...the
very first house Daryl and I lived in together. Those of you who
are long-time fans are familiar with the song I wrote about that
Another concern is our dog, Hubble. He is terrified of thunderstorms,
and the monsoon storms started here in Prescott this afternoon.
Hubble has been shivering, shaking, hiding and panting for several
hours now, while Daryl and I try to act like everything is just
fine, even when the thunder shakes the house to its foundation!
I can only hope the poor little guy gets used to the storms, since
they are forecast to continue almost every afternoon through mid
September. By the way, our other dog, Adelaide, and the three cats
dont care at all about the storm.
The point the endodontist was making is that people under stress
can end up with TMJ.... a painful cramping of the muscle that hinges
the jaw. I have made my own diagnosis..... sinusitis or swimmers
ear. Im taking Sudafed (the REAL stuff you have to sign
for) and Advil, and I must say I DO feel better.
So thanks so much for your concern. Sorry to have carried on like
this, but... SINCE you asked!!!
I had a recent email to TONIS TAKE, saying the writer had heard
that I didnt like the hairstyle.... often called
the Tennille Cut.... that I wore on our television series,
and asking if that was true. Actually, I really liked that hair style,
but my HAIR didnt like it! The haircut was designed by the famous
stylist, Vidal Sassoon, who was known for his simple, swingy
My hair has a natural wave... almost a curl. When I let it dry naturally,
without using a blow dryer, you can easily see the curl. In order
to keep my hair looking sleek and smooth for television, it had to
be blown dry by the hair stylist every single time. When I had to
blow it dry myself, it was a disaster! I just couldnt make it
look the same. Whenever Daryl and I went on the road, I always did
my own hair and makeup (I still do today), and my hair never looked
like it did on TV.... especially when we did outdoor concerts in humid
climates. By the end of the concert, my hair would look like I stuck
my finger in a light socket.
Finally, I just got tired of fighting my hair. Now I wear it fairly
short, and blow it dry using just my fingers to scrunch it up. Takes
only about five minutes. The time I save is better used doing something
else, like practising piano! I hope this answers the writers
Daryl and I, and our assistant, Becky Greenlaw, have been going over
and approving all the art work for the C&T DVDs and the Christmas
CD being released this year. I have been hesitant to talk about it,
because long-time readers of TONIS TAKE know what happened to
the release of our Christmas CD last year, and we dont want
a repeat of that unpleasant situation. However, this time it looks
like things will be done correctly by our new releasing company, RetroActive
Entertainment, with national distribution by Navarre.
By the end of August, you should be able to find the HAWAII special,
the NEW ORLEANS special, the SONGBOOK special (either individually
or in a boxed set), and our CHRISTMAS special in stores as well as
online at Amazon.com. By mid October, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS CD will
be in stores as well in a beautiful new package, which includes lyrics,
liner notes, and new photographs. We have an excellent publicist for
the project, The Lippin Group, whom we have worked with in the past,
and they are already lining up interviews for us to promote the product.
Daryl and I have some concern, because, as most of you know, the CD
and DVD business is changing rapidly because of pirating, copying
and filesharing. Many, many retailers are cutting back on the number
of CDs and DVDs they stock because sales are way down and they dont
want to end up with stock they cannot sell. This is making it more
and more difficult for even established artists to get new product
out there. Were just hoping to make it under the wire
this time before the entire business goes kaput..... something Daryl
has been warning about for years.
LOVELY EMAIL TO SHARE
It always amazes and heartens me to receive an email like the one
I am posting in this weeks TONIS TAKE. It amazes me because,
even after all these years, I still find it hard to believe how many
people have been affected by our music. And it heartens me, because
it lets me know that some people have really been touched by what
has been our lifes work for over 35 years now. It truly means
the world to us, and lets us know that we have made a difference.
This writers story is such a lovely one, I wanted to share it
with you. I received his permission to reprint it here. I hope you
enjoy his story as much as Daryl and I did. Until next week.... Keep
A Song Of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN
Will Keep Us Together" - a
name is Craig Colling. I live in New York state. I am married,
47 years old, and a successful businessperson. I state these
facts simply to assure you that I am a serious & well-grounded
individual, and that the brief story that I am about to
tell you really happened - in 1984 - almost 23 years ago.
I feel that I need to tell you the story now, because time
passes very quickly, and it is time that the Captain &
Toni Tennille became aware of a very unique circumstance
involving their hit song "Love Will Keep Us Together",
before another fleeting decade passes. [I am hoping that
you will pass this amazing story on to them...]
In 1984, my beloved girlfriend MaryEllen (who did become
my wife) and I were at the end of our relationship. Despite
being in love, we were having a very difficult time, and
we were on the verge of ending our relationship. Before
doing so, we decided to take a Fall drive to try to lessen
the pressure that we were feeling. While driving in the
car, you could "literally cut the air with a knife"
as they say, so, I decided to turn on the radio. When I
did, MaryEllen and I both chuckled when the song "Love
Will Keep Us Together" was playing.
Please read on, this gets better & better...
Once the song finished, I hit another button on the car
radio, and - to my surprise - the
same songwas playing again. Please bear
in mind, that this song had been a hit some nine years earlier,
and was now only played periodically. By now, MaryEllen
and I were very intrigued by the coincidence.
Well, you'll never guess what happened next....? I hit the
radio button for the third time.. and what was playing...?
You guessed it...
"Love Will Keep Us Together"
for the third time in a row. Wow! What are the odds of that
happening we thought..? A nine year-old song on three different
stations back to back to back. Needless to say, we were
quite taken back by this coincidence.
From here our story turns into a downright miracle - and
one that I felt that the Captain & Tennille should know
about before we all get 23 years older.
Upon completion of the third playing of the song, MaryEllen
suggested that we stop at the Salvation Army to look at
some furniture for her apartment. (MaryEllen had just completed
her Masters Degree, and money was tight.) As we walked in,
I told MaryEllen that I would be looking at the used records,
if she wanted me for anything...
So, over I went...
I started leafing through a line of LP's when all of a sudden...
the single: "Love Will Keep Us
Literally fell from the sky and landed face up in front
In actuality, it had been on a shelf above my head, and
had fallen when I started flipping through the LP's. It
landed (face-up) right on top of the LP's - right under
my nose!! It even fell with the correct (A) side facing
up! Needless to say, I immediately called MaryEllen over,
and we both literally trembled at what we saw.
To this day, I simply cannot fathom the odds of what happened
that day. I truly do not see how such a thing could have
happened without some type of Devine intervention.
Becky, I am neither a nut, nor a very religious man for
that matter, but there is no denying that some type of miracle
happened that day. Some type of Devine power had to have
intervened to cause such a unique series of events to unfold.
At the conclusion of this miraculous series of events, the
Captain & Tennile's record literally fell from above,
and MaryEllen and I have had the most wonderful marriage
that anyone could hope for. My two parents had a total of
eight marriages between them, so God must have been saying
"enough is enough" on that fateful day.
[Becky, I could not let another day pass without sharing
this with the Captain & Tenille. I hope that you will
pass this on to them. They had unknowingly been involved
in something much bigger than all of us on that day, and
I hope that this miraculous occurrence will bring them the
joy that it has brought us.]
Perhaps MaryEllen and I may one day have the opportunity
to have the record signed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that
you will pass this forward.
Craig M. Colling
- OH, NO...... ROOT CANAL!
Im going to wait a few days before writing my next TONIS
TAKE. I always try to get it ready so Daryl can post it each Sunday,
but, frankly, I have a horrible toothache!
I started having some discomfort on Friday, but tried to ignore it,
hoping it would go away. By Saturday morning, I could no longer ignore
it. My right lower jaw was throbbing painfully. Problem: Daryl and
I dont yet have a dentist in Prescott, and it was SATURDAY!!!!
WHY do these things ALWAYS happen on a weekend or a holiday??? All
I could think of was suffering all day Saturday and Sunday, and then
spending Monday trying to find a new dentist who could see me right
Well.....all I can say is, the people in our new town came through
big time. By 4PM yesterday Daryl and I were in a dentists office.
The dentist is a friend of a new friend here, and met Daryl and me
at her office, where, after an examination and an x-ray, she gave
me the bad news ....an old root canal had failed, was
infected, and needed to be redone. Oh, boy. She gave me the name of
a local Endodontist, and told me to call him at 7AM on Monday morning,
when his office opens.
So, I am hoping Ill feel much more like writing in a few days.
In the meantime, Keep A Song Of Joy Inside Your Heart! -
- LAST WEEKS TAKE | MARRIAGE | CELEBRATING
- LAST WEEKS TAKE
I received many, many emails commenting on last weeks TONIS
TAKE, and 99% of them were understanding and supportive, and I thank
you so much for writing. I am also interested in hearing from those
of you who disagree with me, too, especially if you express yourself
courteously and clearly. However, that was not the case with a couple
of writers. So I am going to tell you right now that if, as I am
reading your emails, I come to a dirty
word or an expletive of any sort, I stop reading immediately,
make a note of the return address, and hit the delete button. I
never open another email from that address again. If you cannot
express your opinion without using such words, you are a poor writer
indeed, and not worthy of being read. And that is the LAST I am
going to say on that subject.
A young woman who has written to me a few times in the past wrote
recently to say that she is about to get married. She asked me if
I had any advice on how to make a marriage last. I have a few things
I can suggest.... my opinion only.... but every marriage is as different
from the other as the two people in it. And you just can never tell
from the outside looking in which marriages are really successful.
But here are a few
things I think every couple should consider before they decide
It is important that your ethics, ideals and morals be similar. That
is the foundation upon which your relationship will be built. All
the other stuff..... he likes football, you like opera... are just
superficial things that you can compromise on.
Daryl and I both believe that marriage is monogamous. Once you take
those vows to love and cherish each other for the rest of your lives,
that means ONLY each other. If you are not ready to make that commitment,
you are not ready for marriage. I know there are many open
marriages these days, but I dont consider them true marriages.
Be proud of each other, and support each other. Never be jealous of
one anothers achievements. Encourage each other to explore his
or her abilities and gifts, and be helpful if you can.
NEVER speak ill of your partner to anyone or in any public place (thats
not to say that, if no one else is in the car, you cant scream
at each other while driving.... you know about me and Daryl and
the driving thing). NEVER say things to your partner like, You
are stupid.... you are worthless... I hate you.
Harsh and mean words can hurt and scar and wreck
And, of COURSE, you lay a hand on your partner in anger and its
over! That goes without saying. No hitting or physically hurting each
other AT ALL. After all, if you have chosen correctly, this person
is your partner for life and your best friend in the world, and you
should cherish them and be grateful to be sharing your life with them,
and all the rest is small stuff.
TALK to each other. I mean it! When we first started living together
in 1972, Daryl and I had completely different ways of coping with
problems in our relationship. He comes from a family that doesnt
express emotion very easily. His idea of dealing with a problem was
to go into his room, close the door and just kind of stew.
I come from a family of outgoing people who talk easily and all the
time!! After a while, I finally figured out that I needed to wait
an hour or so for Daryl to percolate, and then just go
in and start talking to him...not yelling, mind you.... just talking..
about ANYTHING, not necessarily what we thought was the problem. Pretty
soon, we were BOTH talking, and what we almost always discovered was
that whatever we were worried about was usually nothing much. Now
we talk easily about things, and Id say that communication is
just about the most important key to our long relationship.
I always cry at weddings.... especially those involving young people.
I dont cry because the bride is so beautiful, or the flowers
are gorgeous, or the music is so lovely.
I cry because I believe that most of the couples dont have
a CLUE how hard it is going to be to make their marriage work, and
how very hard they are going to have to work at it. When you say,
I do, that is JUST THE BEGINNING! Marriages dont
just move along nicely with no effort on your part. There are constant
adjustments and compromises you have to make along the way EVERY DAY.
Remember, every relationship is different, and there is no perfect
Let me just leave this subject with this thought for couples contemplating
a lifetime together. Picture your partner in your mind right now,
young and beautiful, healthy and strong. Now, imagine you and your
partner fifty or sixty years from now when you are elderly, not so
strong and beautiful perhaps. Can you see yourselves, walking together,
hand in hand, comfortable in, and grateful for, each others
presence? If you can picture that, you
have a darned good chance of making a go of it.
There is a possibility that Daryl and I will appear in a concert in
New York City celebrating Neil
Sedakas 50 year career. It will be held at Lincoln Center
this coming October. There are still many details to be worked out,
so I cant say this is definitely going to happen, but I will
let you know as soon as I know it is on for sure. Daryl and I recorded
many, many songs by Neil such as LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, YOU NEVER
DONE IT LIKE THAT, LONELY NIGHTS and others. Neil is one of the finest,
most prolific songwriters our country has ever produced, and it has
been such a joy to know him and sing his terrific songs.
If it does happen, I hope those of you who live around the New York
area will come and help us celebrate Neils great career. And
even if we are unable to make it, you should go anyway. Neil is a
great performer, and youll have a fabulous evening.
I hope all of you have a wonderful Fourth of July. Listen for Daryls
fathers beautiful arrangement of AMERICA
THE BEAUTIFUL. It is played EVERYWHERE by bands and symphony orchestras
over the Fourth of July holiday. Enjoy family and friends and fireworks
and picnics, and celebrate this country we all love so much. And send
your love and grateful thanks to all of our young men and women in
harms way in the Middle East, and everywhere else in the world
they serve us and our country. Until next week..... Keep A Song
Of Joy Inside Your Heart. (
- CROSSING THE LINE | CASPER ON DVD IN AUGUST
In my last column, I wrote about the wonderful people we have been
meeting here in Prescott. The majority of the ones we have met seem
to be friendly, welcoming, helpful in so many ways, and respectful
of our privacy. In fact, this evening we are headed over to a neighborhood
picnic just around the corner from our rental house. In other circumstances,
I might have been hesitant to go in case wed become the center
of attention, but my gut feeling tells me well be fine
with these people. Yes, they know who we are, and yes, quite a few
of them are excited we are going to be in the area while we build
our new home, but I think they realize we want to be treated like
people. So far, so good.
In a way they remind me of the people Daryl and I used to meet on
the streets of Manhattan whenever we had to go there on business.
Even during the craziest times of our television show in the mid 70s,
when we were on viewers television sets weekly, New Yorkers
were great! If one of them recognized us, theyd smile and call
out, Hiya, Captain and Toni! We love you guys. Welcome to New
York! And that was it. They went on about whatever they had
to do, and let us go on about our lives. We never felt stalked
or overwhelmed by New York fans. They were cool, and we loved them
for it. In fact, Daryl and I have talked about those New York fans
for years, and always look forward to spending time in Manhattan (even
though were rarely recognized on the streets these days).
Which brings up an uncomfortable situation that occurred yesterday
when Daryl and I went out to check on the construction of our new
home. We were there rather late in the afternoon, and I was taking
some photos to document the progress of the construction. As we were
walking around the property, I noticed a car driving up to our gate.
I didnt recognize it, so I wondered who it might be.
A woman got out of the car, and headed, purposefully, in our direction.
I thought she might be a real estate agent. I walked toward her and
asked if I could help her. She told me she lived in the house
on the hill over there. Weve been hoping to see you here so
I could come and meet you! My husband saw you through the window,
and I jumped in the car so I could come over here before you left!
She went on to explain how much she loved our music, and how excited
she was to meet us. We chatted a bit, and she said that her daughter,
who was driving the car, was so embarrassed I made her drive
me over here so I could meet you that she wont get out of the
car. I asked her daughters name, and said Id love
to say hello to her.
As we walked towards her car, she turned to Daryl and said, actually,
DEMANDED, Take off your glasses! - I want to see your eyes!
Right then she crossed the line. Even if she had asked politely, the
answer was NO. I was stunned she would even ask such a thing. I immediately
bristled, but managed to stay calm as, after Daryl quietly told her
he would not remove his glasses, I explained to her, keeping my anger
in check, that Daryl has had several surgeries on his eyes, and never
takes his glasses off anymore.
Now Ill explain to you exactly what the situation is with
Daryls eyes. He has a congenital condition called Megalophthalmus,
which basically means extremely enlarged eyes. Most ophthalmologists,
although they learn about the condition in medical school, NEVER see
a case of it. His eyes are one in several hundred-million. His beautiful
eyes that we all thought were so mesmerizing, were destined to cause
all sorts of problems for him as he aged.
In the last several years, he has had surgeries on both eyes.... one
involved the implantation of a tiny drain in one eye,
to relieve the pressure of glaucoma. It was so severe that prescription
eye drops could not do the job. He has also had surgeries for cataracts
in both eyes.. an inevitable result of Megalophthalmus. In fact, the
only Ophthalmic Surgeon in this country who had some experience with
eyes like Daryls was in Cincinnati, so we had to fly there three
different times so he could have the tests and then the procedures.
Our regular eye doctor in Reno would not touch it.
Also, it is actually painful for him without dark glasses, because
his eyes do not adjust well to light. When he was growing up, he was
often teased unmercifully about his big eyes by other
kids, who called him Martian"
so he has always been extremely sensitive about those eyes we all
thought were so beautiful.
I know there are people out there who think they can demand anything
they want from celebrities, because they wouldnt
be anybody without us fans! Yes, without the fans who love and
buy our music and attend our concerts, we wouldnt have a career,
wouldnt have been able to write, share and perform our songs.
But there is a line.... and that woman jumped right over it. Some
things are private and personal, and always will be. We will be avoiding
her as much as possible in the future, and will be polite if we end
up in a situation where we cant avoid her, but will make for
the door as soon as we possibly can.
On a lighter note..... it appears that the animated film we did last
year, CASPERS SCARE
SCHOOL, will be available on DVD sometime in August. Some of you
may have watched it last Halloween on the Cartoon Network. Believe
me, it is much more pleasant to watch it on DVD. We were the voices
for a two-headed character called ANKLE.... Caspers Aunt Belle
and Uncle Murray. We also recorded several songs for the soundtrack.
There is one absolutely gorgeous song that you hear on the soundtrack
when you see Casper flying off to Scare School to learn how to be
more frightening The song is called WORLD WITHOUT FEAR
and it was written by Magnus Fiennes (brother of actors David and
Joseph Fiennes). The sentiments in the lyrics are perfect for todays
world, where so many of us live in fear of terrorists,
aliens, and all sorts of bad guys. If you have children
of a certain age, I am sure they will love CASPERS SCARE SCHOOL.
Well, thats my TAKE for today. Until next time, Keep A Song
of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN
TO PRESCOTT !
At this moment Daryl and I are sitting on the deck of our little
rental house in Prescott, AZ. Hubble and Adelaide are out here with
us, wondering why they are not allowed in the house. All three cats
are hiding under the bed. We are all in our places because the carpet
cleaner is inside the house, doing his thing!
When we arrived at the rental last Saturday afternoon, the house
had been cleaned, but the carpet had not. We figured that the landlord,
knowing we were bringing two dogs and three cats into the house
(and bless him for allowing us to do that!) decided it was a waste
of money to have the carpets cleaned. However, I like to have a
clean slate when I live somewhere, and there were quite
a few dirty smudgy places in the traffic areas. I decided to have
the carpet cleaned at our own expense. I will be MUCH happier when
the work is done.
We have been living in Prescott now for just over a week, and we
finally seem to be settling in. The cats have staked out their places
in their new digs, and the dogs are getting used to seeing people
go by right outside our door. This little rental house is located
on a corner lot, and people and cars pass close by all day long.
It isnt busy here at all...it is a quiet area. But our dogs
are used to living on five acres in a rural area, where they NEVER
saw anybody pass by.
The neighborhood where we are renting is cozy and attractive, tucked
into the pine-covered hills west of town. We have met quite a few
of our neighbors, and they have been very friendly and respectful
of our privacy, which is really nice. We walk the dogs every morning
and evening, and as we pass by, people smile and wave from their
porches or driveways and say hello. When we first started walking
the neighborhood, they would say, Are you Captain and Tennille?
We heard you were coming. Word gets around VERY fast here
in Prescott. Daryl and I usually stop to chat with each one for
a bit before we continue on our way.
My impression of the neighborhood is that most of the people here
are in their 50s and up, and are really into health and fitness.
We see them walking with their dogs, riding bikes, hiking, heading
for the health club in the neighborhood to work out, take the yoga
classes, swim, and play tennis. Of course there are younger people
here, too, and everybody seems to be into a healthy lifestyle. I
really like that. We have met some of the nicest people here, and
they have been so helpful in many ways, recommending restaurants,
hair stylists, physicians, veterinarians, etc.
The funny thing is, our moving here has caused quite a stir! This
is really suprising to me, since we have been out of the public
eye for so long, and it has been many years since our last hit record.
In La Quinta, where we have our winter home, our presence evokes
mostly yawns, because the Coachella Valley, which includes Palm
Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, is PACKED with
celebs...movie stars, television stars, famous singers, etc. But
here in Prescott, I guess we are it for now. Although
I HAVE heard a rumor that Denzel
Washington has a home here. Maybe Ill run into him at
Let me tell you a funny story that kind of shows you how uncomfortable
it can be to be famous sometimes.
The day we got here, my 2001 Toyota Tundra truck had a flat tire
right in the driveway of our rental. It turns out it had picked
up a nail left over from the building of the dog enclosure, which
the landlord had installed for us.
To TRY to make a long story short, Daryl took the truck to Walmart
to have the tire repaired. The work was done by a trainee,
who stripped one of the lug nuts while installing the repaired tire.
The Service Manager told Daryl to go to the local auto parts store
to get a new lug nut, and they would waive the charge for the tire
Daryl decided to go to the local Toyota dealer to get an official
Toyota lug nut. On his way there, he heard a loud THUMP just as
he pulled up to a stop light. He looked back and saw the SPARE tire
lying in the road. The trainee had installed the spare,
which goes under the truck, incorrectly, and it fell off. By the
time Daryl could safely make a u-turn to pick up the tire...just
a couple of minutes later.... the tire had been stolen right off
the street! Welcome to Prescott.
While all this was going on, I was at the rental, cleaning like
mad, and trying to get things organized. I was wearing a ratty old
cleaning tee shirt and a pair of old shorts , my hair
was sticking out all over the place, and I had NO makeup on. I was
a mess, actually.
The phone rang. I heard Daryls frazzled voice in the line....
Get over here to the Toyota dealer..... youre buying
a new truck!
WHAT????, I said! Why am I buying a new truck...whats
wrong with my old one? We just had it serviced!
Just get over here now, he insisted.
I didnt know about the tire fiasco, but I knew that tone of
voice. So I got in the minivan right away, and made my way to the
When I arrived, I parked the minivan, got out of the car, and saw
Daryl walking towards me with a saleman
accompanying him. The salesman was smiling broadly, and when he
saw me he said, YOURE TONI TENNILLE!!!! Oh, boy.
I was NOT in glamour mode. In fact, I looked like hell, but here
was this guy carrying on and drawing attention to me. I wanted to
crawl in a hole, but there I was.
He proceeded to show me every new Tundra he had on the lot. I was
still in a daze. Daryl and I had talked about my getting a new truck
when the 2007 models came out, but I was concerned about the size
of them. The trucks ARE incredibly impressive, and they are REALLY
Well, we ended up in the little room where they put you while they
take a look at your old truck and decide how little
they are going to give you for a trade-in. ALL I wanted to do was
go away, but there we sat for what seemed like an interminable time,
while the salesman did what they do. In the meantime, people popped
in and out of the little room saying, YOURE the Captain
and Tennille! Some of them asked for autographs. I could tell
they were thinking (or at least I THOUGHT they were thinking), God,
she looks awful! And
OLD, too. And I did. Get me outta here!
Finally, I had enough. I told the saleman exactly what I wanted....
a black double-cab with pale beige interior, and all the bells and
whistles, and I left Daryl to deal with the rest of it. The saleman
wasnt happy because he had to order the truck, and it is going
to take about three weeks to get here, but... oh, well.
And it wasnt all Oh how exciting, youre the Captain
and Tennille! As I was trying to head for the door, the salesman
grabbed a younger employee, pointed at me and said, Do you
know who THIS is? The younger guy looked me up and down with
a critical eye and said, No. Should I? Embarrassed,
I said, No, you shouldnt. He said, Well,
Im ONLY thirty-one, and walked off. OUCH.
Anyhow, thats about all the news I have for now. I will do
my best to write every Sunday, so stick with me! The carpet cleaned
up nicely, by the way. Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside
Your Heart. - LISTEN
- A SUMMER IN PRESCOTT
The time has come for us to make our transition to Prescott for the
summer. It is 8AM, and Daryl and I just got through loading up the
truck with most of the stuff well need while were there.
We were up at 4:30AM this morning in order to walk the dogs for the
full hour and beat the 106 degree heat that is forecast for today.
Well be driving out of here tomorrow morning. Well leave
the pets here for now, and come back to pick them up in a couple of
days, once we have the rental house all set up for them (and us).
The dogs know something is up. The minute they see us packing suitcases
and loading stuff in one of the cars, they begin to get a bit anxious.
I wish I could tell them, Calm down...well be back to
get all of you in a couple of days! The cats, of course, dont
care if we come or go, as long as they have food, water, and clean
litter boxes. You gotta love cats! Theyre easy.
We will be computerless for the next week. The rental
house will not be set up for high speed access until the middle of
next week, so I wont be able to write another TONIS TAKE
for another week or so. Just hang in there with me. Ill be writing
again once were settled in Prescott. Until then... Keep A
Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.(
- DESERT HEAT | A GRAY MAY | UPCOMING C&T
SPECIALS ON DVD
- DESERT HEAT
Now that Memorial Day weekend is here, the desert
is heating up! Daryl and I have to get out each morning before
the sun rises to walk the dogs, because once the sun blasts over the
eastern mountains, the temperatures rise fast. Our air conditioner
is running most of the day now, and I find myself cringing when I
think of how high our power bill is going to be. I checked out the
forecast for Prescott,
where we will be spending the summer, and the temperatures sound perfect.....
mid 80s during the day, and 50s in the mornings.... just right for
walking the dogs, and we WONT have to get up at 5AM every morning
to beat the heat!
A GRAY MAY
This has been a rough month, this gray May. After I attended
two memorial services in a row last week, I felt very weepy for a
couple of days, like I was carrying around a huge bubble
of sadness in my chest. Both of the men who died.... Daryl's Uncle
Roland and our neighbor, Jack...were wonderful men...true
gentlemen, with the kind of presence that lights up a room. Both were
kind, generous, warm individuals who did good things for people, and
left the earth a better place.
Yes, both of them lived long lives... Roland was 88, and Jack
was 80... but we could have used a few more years of their presence
in our lives. Roland died after a long descent into Alzheimers. Jack
fell like a tree cut down by the blow of an axe... healthy and strong
until he suddenly crashed to the earth. Their deaths caused me to
do a lot of reflecting on how I am living my life, and what I can
do to live the kind of life Jack and Roland did.
I want to thank those of you who have written expressing your concern
about Daryls sister, Carmen. Although she has a difficult road
ahead, we feel that the latest news on her health is hopeful, and
we are continuing to hold positive thoughts.
UPCOMING C&T SPECIALS ON DVD
Daryl and I are spending this Sunday morning recording commentary
for the DVDs we have coming out this fall. Evidently, a viewer will
be able to watch the shows with or without listening to our comments
on what they are seeing at the time. We just finished the commentary
for our 1976 Christmas show, and will be doing the New Orleans Special
as soon as Daryl gets it set up in his studio.
We have not watched these shows since we taped them in 1976 and 1978.
Yes, weve seen the occasional
show up on YouTube, but not the entire shows. It is really easy to
see why so many critics thought (and still think) we were superficial
and silly, because a lot of the sketches, dialogue and song settings
were kind of...well.... they actually WERE silly. That is the way
television variety shows were in those days. Audiences just wanted
to escape into light music and fun for the most part, and all of us
who were part of that scene.... Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie, Tony
Orlando and Dawn.... gave viewers the opportunity to escape
for a little while.
I was very proud of the technical quality of the music we presented
on our shows. Daryl, in particular, worked very hard under a relentless
schedule to bring the music up to a standard of technical excellence
that was really hard to achieve on television at that time. We were
one of the few musical television acts in the 70s who were able to
use their own recording engineer to work with the television staff
engineers, thanks to a special concession by the television engineers
union. This helped make the sound quality of the music as good as
possible, and above what was standard at the time.
There are some moments on the Christmas show that really moved me.
Im sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that all three of
my sisters were featured in the show. I dont know how many of
you come from a family with all female siblings, but it has been very
special to Jane, Louisa, Melissa and me. My sisters are all terrific,
accomplished women, and I love them very much. In my mind we will
always be The Fabulous Tennille Sisters.
The last number of the Christmas show is OH HOLY NIGHT, a traditional
Christmas song that I have sung many times over the years. Daryls
father, Carmen, wrote a gorgeous orchestral arrangment of OH HOLY
NIGHT that I have sung with symphony orchestras throughout the country.
On our Christmas show, I sing the first verse alone, with Daryl at
the keyboard. At the second chorus (Fall on your knees, oh hear
the angel voices...) we are joined by my sisters AND the four
Sisters, and when all our voices join together.... well, as I
listened to it this morning, it just knocked me off my feet! I cant
explain it exactly, but it took me right back to the moment we sang
together, and to the absolutely joyous feeling of joining our voices
with theirs on that beautiful song. It is a musical moment I will
Anyhow.... Daryl just said it is time to do the commentary for the
New Orleans Special, so Ill close for now. I havent seen
that show for so long, but I remember the opening number.... the Doobie
What a great song... and I LOVED singing it! New Orleans was in its
glory then. We have not been back since Katrina,
but perhaps it is best to remember it as it was, full of laughter,with
Dixieland jazz spilling out of noisy little clubs along Bourbon
Street, balconies graced by the traditional wrought iron railings,
small,"secret" gardens tucked away behind stone walls, smiling
tourists and all sorts of Nyawlins characters strolling
or dancing along the streets, and.... pralines...gumbo... hush puppies...
shrimp creole... cafe au lait and beignets
at the Cafe Du Monde...
the sweet smell of night blooming jasmine and magnolias. I hope against
hope that New Orleans can ever return to the way it was then, the
way I remember it from my childhood visits and from 1978.
Thats all for today. Until next week..... Keep A Song of
Joy Inside Your Heart!- LISTEN
A GRAY MAY | PRESCOTT SUPERMARKET | THE CARPENTERS
A GRAY MAY
April is the cruelest month, wrote the poet T.S. Eliot
in his poem, THE WASTE LAND (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waste_Land),
but this month of May is proving to be the more difficult month for
Daryl and for me. His sister, who is very ill (as I mentioned last
week), is holding her own, but we dont really know her prognosis
yet. We went to see her in the hospital in northern California this
past weekend, and she was overjoyed to have Daryl there.
We just got word yesterday morning that Daryls Uncle Roland
passed away. Roland was a dear and loving man who lived a long, full
life, and who, along with his beloved wife of 68 years, Virginia,
raised a terrific son. He was a court reporter by trade, and a musician
(string bass) in his heart. He had suffered from Alzheimers
for the past several years, and was very ill the last months of his
life. Although we will miss him, we are all relieved to know that
he is no longer suffering.
This week we will attend Uncle Rolands memorial service in Los
Angeles on Friday, and then attend ANOTHER memorial service just a
few houses down from ours on Saturday morning in honor of a neighbor
(a man Daryl and I both thought the world of) who died suddenly a
few days ago.
So, as you can see, May has been very gray.
On a much lighter note, I have a funny story to tell you. A couple
of weeks ago Daryl and I were in Prescott, Arizona, meeting with the
builders of our new home. It was a wonderful trip...we got a lot done,
and spent some time with new friends.
We were especially excited to see the huge cement trucks show up on
our property to pour the footings for our new home. This home will
be the third one we have built together from the ground up, and it
is always a thrill when the cement trucks arrive. That means construction
is actually underway. The builders tell us it will take about a year
to build our house, so I am hoping we can move in by my next birthday.
Anyhow, we stayed in a suites type hotel near the downtown
area, and there happened to be a large supermarket within walking
distance. I needed a couple of things, so I left Daryl in the room
and walked over. I was strolling up and down the aisles, trying to
find the items I needed, when I heard the intro to DO THAT TO ME ONE
MORE TIME on the store speakers. Then I heard my voice throughout
the store singing, Do that to me one more time, once is never
enough...... Ill have to say, I broke out in a huge grin.
The system was a good one, and the recording sounded great (to me).
As I was standing there listening, a young 20-ish clerk sashayed by
me singing along at the top of her lungs, Do that to me one
more time..... That made me laugh out loud. She wasnt
even born when that song was a hit!
A minute later, I just couldnt stand it, so I walked up to her
as she was stocking items on a shelf and asked, Do you know
the name of the group on that record? Heck no, she
said. Thats waay too old for me!. I laughed and
said, Well, you seem to know the song pretty well. She
said, Oh, yeah. Its a good song.
So I just couldnt stop myself. Well, I wrote that song,
and that is me singing. I saw the skeptical look on her face
as she studied me ... a 60+ woman in jeans, a tee shirt, and sneakers...
and tried to decide if I was putting her on. Really? she
said. Really, I replied. I turned around and headed over
to the checkout stand. THAT was fun!
By the time it was my turn to check out, the young clerk had positioned
herself at the end of the counter to bag my items. She said to the
cashier, a young woman in her mid 30s, Do you know that song,
DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME? and the cashier said, Of
course I do... thats Captain and Tennille. The clerk said,
How did you know that? Youre just a few years older than
me. The cashier looked at me and smiled as she said, I
know good music. I couldnt wait to get back to the hotel
to tell Daryl!
THE CARPENTERS AND C&T
On another C&T note.... I was getting ready to write TONIS
TAKE on Sunday, when I got a call from the neighbor whose husband
died suddenly just a couple of days before. She asked if I would mind
calling some people on a long list of names to tell them where the
memorial service would be held. Of course I would. I dropped everything
and started down the list.
I ended up leaving voice mail for most of them, but the actual conversation
I had with one woman on the list was quite interesting to me. As I
made each call, I started by introducing myself.... "Hello, my
name is Toni Tennille, and Im calling on behalf of Sarah Carson
(not her real name). Sarah asked me to tell you where Jacks
memorial service will be held...... and so on. One of the people
I actually talked to was a woman who knew the couple well, and wanted
to chat about the memorial service. Well, this woman finally said,
You know, you have the same name as that singer who died.
I said, What? She continued, You know...Toni Tennille...
she died a few years ago. I think it was of bulemia.
Finally I said to the woman, I AM Toni Tennille, the singer,
and Im not dead yet I dont think. You have me mixed up
with Karen Carpenter. OH...Im SO sorry, she
said, sounding totally flustered. YOURE the one who works with
your brother, right? No, I said. I work with
my HUSBAND, the Captain. Weve been together for 34 years. KAREN
sang with her brother. Well, by that time the poor lady was
totally in a tizzy. I told her that people often mix us up, and she
shouldnt feel embarrassed.
After we hung up, I got to thinking about what she said. Aside from
the fact that it is a bit disconcerting to have someone tell you that
you died several years ago, I had to admit that it has been a very
long time since our records were heard every day on the radio. It
seems that, as the years have passed and the 70s have faded a bit
in peoples memories, Karen and Richard, and Daryl and I have
kind of morphed into each other. Ill have to tell you though,
that if people keep mixing me up with Karen, thats fine with
me. Karen had one of the loveliest, most distinctive voices in pop
music, and I am proud if I stand in the glow of her talent in some
I will probably be late again with TONIS TAKE next week, but
Ill do my best to get it out by Sunday. We have two memorial
services and a graduation party to go to on Friday and Saturday, so
please bear with me. I hope all of you who are mothers, or who HAVE
mothers still living, had a wonderful Mothers
Day! Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
09 , 2007
OF TONI's TAKE...
a quick note to let you know that I am going to postpone TONI'S
TAKE until next week. We got word this weekend that Daryl's sister
is quite ill, and flew up to northern California on my birthday so
Daryl could spend some time with her. She was overjoyed to see her
brother, and we both thought she looked very good, so things are hopeful.
As you can imagine, both of us are pretty overwhelmed right now, but
I'll be able to gather my thoughts again by this coming Sunday.
And speaking of my birthday....Wow! Many thanks to all of you who
took the time to send birthday greetings. My mail box was jammed with
birthday wishes! All I can say is....YIKES!!!! How can I POSSIBLY
be this old?
Until next week....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. - LISTEN
FOR THE PET SITTER | THE COACHELLA | A SUMMER SALAD
FOR THE PET SITTER
This weeks column will be a fairly short one. Daryl and I
are getting ready to take another trip to Arizona to check on the
construction of our new home, and that means I have to clean this
house like crazy. Why? Because the pet sitter is coming to stay
with the kids while we are gone, and I cant stand
to have anyone think I keep a dirty house.
Actually, the house really isnt dirty, but there
is cat hair on every chair and cushion. Little drifts of dog hair
hide under the piano, Hubble and Adelaides stuffies and rawhide
chews are scattered throughout the house, and I notice that my bathroom
DOES need a good going over. And, of course, the travertine floors
need to be mopped...which means they have to be swept and vacuumed
first. Im sure most of you know the drill.
If I complain about the cleaning, Daryl says, Why dont
you hire a cleaning person????? I just prefer to do it myself.
I do have a very nice lady who cleans our little guest casita before
guests arrive, and that really helps. But I like to do the main
house myself. What am I going to do when I am REALLY elderly, and
dont have the strength and energy I have now? I like to think
that will never happen.... that Ill continue to sweep, mop,
dust and clean until I ride my vacuum off into the sunset.
This is a wild, crowded and busy weekend in the Coachella Valley.
Valley Music and Arts Festival started on Friday, drawing over
200,000 music lovers to the area from all over the world. For those
of you who dont know about The
Coachella, it is a gathering of many, many Indie
bands... some of the performers I have heard of..... The Red Hot
Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Bjork, Crowded
House.... but most of them are new to me.... The Black Keys,
The Roots, Explosions in the Sky, Klaxons, and others (my favorite
name of the ones I have never heard of?...The New Pornographers).
Yesterday morning around 9:30AM, I decided to make a quick trip to
the local Ralphs Market to get some things for dinner. I forgot
it was the first day of the Coachella. Well, I spent the entire time
I was at the market, laughing inside at what was going on around me.
Folks who live around here are a pretty conservative bunch.... most
of them conservative politically AND personally, and quite a few of
them are, ahem, Senior
Citizens. You see them dressed in their neat shorts and
golf shirts, or designer tees and capris. You see lots of gray hair
or carefully coiffed bottle blondes (like me...actually,
not the carefully coiffed part). They are used to things
being pretty quiet and peaceful, especially when they go to the supermarket!
After I wheeled my six year old Toyota Tundra into a parking space
and got out, my ears were assaulted by VERY
loud alt music. A local Indie radio station had set up
a tent right by the entrance to the supermarket, and had the music
going full blast on the loudspeakers. Scores
of young people dressed in tight tank tops and low cut shorts
or capris (the girls) and shorts and baggy tee shirts (the guys) were
streaming in and out of the market, getting the supplies they would
need for a hot day at Coachella. Quite a few of them also sported
body art and multiple
piercings. Some were hanging out by the radio station tent, having
their fast-food breakfasts and enjoying the music.
I laughed out loud at the sight of the locals shaking
their disapproving or perplexed heads as these young people passed
by. Two worlds colliding! Actually the concert goers appeared to be
not at all interested in the locals, and just continued to go about
their business, preparing to spend this VERY hot day listening to
their favorite bands. The funny thing is, IM a local
and I am also a Senior Citizen, but somehow I found myself
identifying more with the excitement and musical anticipation I saw
in these kids than I did with the old folks.
I can absolutely understand the thrill they were anticipating, I just
had the same kind of thrill a couple of weeks ago when Daryl and I
were privileged to attend a concert of the Cincinnati Symphony featuring
probably the greatest violinist I have ever heard in my life, Leonidas
I could go on and on about him (you could actually call me a Kavakos
groupie), but since I dont think most of you are classical music
fans, Ill stop right here. My POINT is, even though the KIND
of music we like may be quite different, I experienced the same transcendant
joy and thrill hearing Kavakos play the Brahms Violin Conerto as these
young people do hearing their favorite Indie bands.
We live only a couple of miles from the Indio Polo Grounds, where
the Coachella is held. Last night, before Daryl and I went to bed
at our usual early hour, I looked out towards the festival grounds,
and saw enough
light in the sky to seem like the sun was getting ready to rise
again. I heard only faint sounds coming from the area then, but at
midnight I was awakened by loud booming bass sounds. The festival
was about to wind down for the night, and the DB level had risen considerably.
Hubble, our male Australian Shepherd, who has noise phobia
bless his heart, was cowering in the hallway. Luckily, the music ended
abruptly at 12:30AM... just a half hour over the designated end time.
Tonight is the last night of the Coachella, and Im sure most
of the locals are breathing a sigh of relief... no more long lines
at the supermarket..... no more strange-looking
young people everywhere..... no more traffic jams to deal
with. Until NEXT year! Heres to the The Coachella, and heres
to the love of whatever
kind of music speaks to your heart!
A reader recently asked if I had any ideas for a summer recipe.
Actually, I do. I found this salad recipe in a newspaper years
ago. Daryl and I liked it so much, I make it often. It is
perfect for a hot summer evening. Serve it with a nice Sauvignon
Blanc and some crusty, whole grain bread you can dip in extra
virgin olive oil.
- LAYERED GREEK SALAD
- For the dressing....
3/4 Cup Olive oil
1/3 Cup freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Salt - For the Salad...
Romaine Lettuce, 1 pre-washed Bag
5 medium tomatoes (or 4 1/2 cups chopped smaller ones)
1 medium red onion
1/2 Cup Chopped fresh Parsley
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Baby Dill
2 cups chopped English Cucumber
1 cup chopped Kalamata Olives
1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
First make the dressing: Combine dressing ingredients in a
jar. Shake well to disolve salt. Taste for seasoning (add
black pepper if desired), but remember that there are a bunch
of chopped herbs in the salad. You may want to make it more
or less tart by using more or less lemon juice.
Make the salad: Chop the lettuce and then layer it in the
bottom of a large, preferably glass bowl (it is pretty if
you can see the layers through the glass).
Toss the tomatoes with a tablespoon of the dressing and distribute
evenly over the lettuce. Repeat with the red onion.
Combine all the chopped herbs and sprinkle them evenly over
the salad. Then add the chopped cucumber, then the olives,
and finally, the feta cheese.
Pour half of the remaining dressing over the salad and pass
what is left. Serves four people as an entree salad..... six
to eight as an appetizer salad.
I hope you all enjoy this salad as much as Daryl and I do. Until next
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart! / (
- WHY DID THE CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE VARIETY
SHOW END AFTER ONLY ONE SEASON?
People who havent followed our career very closely are often
surprised to learn that the CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE VARIETY SHOW was
only on for one season.... 1976-77. Before our own variety show, we
appeared as guests on several of the summer variety shows, such as
the one singer
John Davidson hosted. And AFTER our show ended, we did a series
of specials for ABC... the HAWAII special, the NEW ORLEANS special,
and the SONGBOOK special.
Television in the 70s consisted of three national channels.... ABC,
NBC, and CBS. Other than local channels, viewers had no other choices,
so if you had a successful show, you could draw at least 30 million
viewers each week. Our show was aired on Monday nights at 8 PM, and
our competition was LITTLE
HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE on NBC, and RHODA
(a spinoff of the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW) on CBS.... both of them also
family-friendly shows like ours. Most of the time we split
the pie with the other shows, each of us drawing about 33 million
viewers each week. I can say, after all these years, that I am very
aware of the power of television since, even though our show was only
aired for one season, we are still remembered and recognized by many
- Why did our show end after only one season? Here is the true story.
I had a strong background in theatre, and was comfortable on television
having grown up watching (and sometimes appearing on) my mothers
television show in Montgomery, Alabama. Mothers show on the
local ABC station was called THE
GUEST ROOM. She was on, live, for a half hour every week day,
interviewing various prominent people in the area, and celebrities
who happened to pass through Montgomery. My favorite piece of television
advice from mother was, Toni, always be good to your lighting
man. He can make you look great, or like you just came off a ten-day
drunk! So true.
Although I came from a background that made me comfortable with most
of the demands of television, Daryl did NOT. He was used to being
in the back of the class, slumped down, hoping the teacher wouldnt
call on him. He was never comfortable in a prominent position
on stage, and had never even read a cue card before we started appearing
on television. He always says that he was learning how to host a television
show in front of millions of people every week, and he was pretty
miserable about it. He was very aware that his lack of experience
and ability showed, and he took the public criticism very hard.
Also, it was very important to Daryl that the music on the show have
the C&T sound, and that it not sound generic,
as so many other musical variety shows did. He was responsible for
producing almost all of the music on the show. This meant that the
night before taping day, he was often in the recording studio until
very, very late, and then had
to appear at the television studio very early the next morning,
ready to do the show with only a few hours of sleep.
When we were first approached by Fred Silverman, Vice President of
Entertainment for ABC, to do a new variety show, we had a series of
meetings with him and the other ABC executives. I remember that our
biggest sticking point in negotiations was ABCs insistence that
we do a LOT of sketch comedy in addition to the musical numbers. They
wanted us to do 60% comedy, and 40% music. We simply couldnt
understand their thinking, since we were known for our music. We didnt
mind doing SOME skits, since all of the other variety shows did it,
and it was pretty much expected. But we wanted the percentage to be
Well, we wrangled and debated. The lawyers on both sides huffed and
puffed and rang up big bills. Our management team was terrified wed
blow the whole deal, since they were looking forward to a Captain
and Tennille national television show that would bring them in a nice
bit of change. We finally agreed (we thought) that the comedy/music
ratio would be about 50/50. We werent thrilled, but thought
we could deal with it.
The show debuted on ABC in the fall of 1976, and we were off and running.
As the weeks went by in a blur, I began to feel like
Lucy trying to package the chocolates as they raced by on the out-of-control
Every week I was learning dances (which I was very mediocre at, but
which was required for a variety show), musical arrangements, and
comedy skits. Daryl didnt have to dance, but they often threw
him into a dance number by dressing him up in some silly outfit (see
RUBBER BAND MAN) and having him finger-synch on his keyboard to his
Each week we would tape introductions to the show and to the guests,
reading the script from teleprompters. Daryl had a helluva time with
that. He never was comfortable with it, and every week he would become
more and more unhappy. Daryl is actually a very funny man in his own
way. His dry sense of humor works best when he improvises or wings
it. He felt constricted and often overwhelmed when he had to
read lines from a script.
We were contantly battling the script writers, who wanted us to do
put-down humor, like SONNY
AND CHER or DONNY
AND MARIE. We told the writers over and over again that we wouldnt
put each other down on the show, but every week the script would reflect
that kind of humor, which we would have to change before taping.
And while we were taping the shows, week after week, we were expected
to do as much promo (tv, radio, print, etc.) as we could cram into
the schedule. This was certainly understandable, since ABC was investing
a great deal of money in the show, and was hoping for a hit, but it
was still incredibly demanding and stressful, since it allowed us
no personal time to decompress and breathe.
Finally, right after we finished our 1976 Christmas Show, Daryl and
I just felt like we couldnt take it anymore. I was worried to
death about Daryl, and the stresses that spilled over into our personal
life. The fame and all that went with it just wasnt worth it
to us. So during the holiday break, we flew to New York City to meet
with Fred Silverman and tell him we wanted to stop doing the show.
He couldnt understand why we would give up a successful show,
and offered us a proposal. He gave us a list of new producers for
us to consider for the remainder of the season. On that list was the
CLARK. Dick had never produced a television show before, but he
was a MUSIC man, and that was where we always wanted the shows
emphasis to be. We thought that, with Dick at the helm, wed
finally have a show that reflected more of our strengths.
I do believe that the second half of the season was much more what
we had hoped the show would be, but we decided to give it up anyway.
Dick went on to produce two of our specials..the HAWAII and the NEW
ORLEANS specials, and, over all, we were pleased with both shows.
Looking back on the experience, I am glad we did the television show.
I truly believe that the only reason people remember us after all
these years is because of our television exposure. It is a powerful
medium, and can change your life in an instant. It is scary, actually.
For instance, I sometimes watch the contestants on American Idol as
they are hit hard with fame and its demands. I will be interested
to hear from them years from now to see how it affected THEIR lives
Anyhow, thats the true story. What would have transpired had
we continued the
CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE VARIETY SHOW
for another season, well never know. You make decisions based
on your circumstances and experiences at the time. I am very grateful
for the fortunate life I am living now, and I give much of the credit
to that one season we had on television, and to all of the viewers
who took us into their homes each Monday night.
Until next week.....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
BIG SISTER | J. BELL AND A. IDOL | CACTUS
PETES | STARTING ARIZONA
- BIG SISTER
I called my sister, Melissa, on her cell phone this morning. She and
her husband, Andy, and their two youngest children, are in New York
City, celebrating Andys 55th birthday. I called because I was
really worried about the weather there, and I knew they were planning
to fly back to California tomorrow. I caught her just as they were
about to be seated at a restaurant.
I called because I was worried about the weather, I said.
When are you flying back? Tomorrow morning... why?
she asked. Well, I told her, the flights out of
New York are backed up for hours. Its all over the national
news. Im worried about your flight home.
She laughed and said that the weather had been perfect for the last
couple of days... that they had had a foot of snow overnight, and
now it was raining. She said they were having a fabulous time, and
she hadnt given a thought to the trip home. I made her promise
to call Jet Blue early in the morning to check on her flight time.
She laughed again and said, Thanks, Big Sister! I will.
I guess once a Big Sister, always a Big Sister... even when we are
in our 50s and 60s. Melissa is the youngest of the Fabulous
Tennille Sisters, and still has that wonderful joie dvivre
and cheerful optimism. Im the practical one who always seems
to point out the possible rocks in the road ahead. Somebodys
gotta do it. Next Im going to call my sister, Jane, in Orlando,
and tell her to watch out for the severe thunderstorms and possible
tornados that have been forecast for her area today! Once a Big Sister.......
J. BELL AND A. IDOL
I received many, many interesting comments on my last TONIS
TAKE... .most of them regarding the Washington Post article on Joshua
Bell, and a few regarding American Idol. One writer took me gently
to task with a very well-written rebuttal of my opinion of American
Idol. He believes it is a wonderful family show... something all generations
can watch together and enjoy... a rare thing in television these days.
He said it is fun and inspirational to watch the contestants grow
and gain confidence as the season progresses. Perhaps Ill put
away my misgivings and check it out next season.
The Joshua Bell article made me think of many, many times over the
years when Daryl and I have been in performing situations that were
less than ideal.... humiliating, even. Heres the story of one
of those occasions.
The year was 1994. It was late November. I had a very robust and musically
rewarding second career going as a guest artist, singing the Great
American Songbook with symphony orchestras all over the country.
I had begun doing this in 1984, and usually sang with 10-12 orchestras
per year. I loved every second of it, and, as a classically trained
musician myself, was honored to be accompanied by so many terrific
and beautifully trained orchestral musicians. I had gorgeous arrangements
in my symphony book.... most of them by the legendary Sammy
Nestico, and it was a thrill every time I sang them. And I always
passed on to Sammy the compliments the musicians often expressed about
how much they enjoyed playing his arrangements.
Many times I would go from a symphony gig to a Captain and Tennille
gig, meeting Daryl and the band at the next venue without flying home,
and that was the situation in this case, where I had a couple of concerts
with the Cincinatti Symphony Orchestra in Cincinatti, and then flew
to a place called CACTUS
PETES, a casino located on the border of northern Nevada
and southern Idaho, right in the middle of NOWHERE! Cactus Petes
actually did (and still does, I guess) a vigorous business, drawing
gamblers from Canada, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and other surrounding states.
We had been booked for the Thanksgiving weekend. We had never been
there before, but the money was very good and our then-personal manager
and the booking agent told us it was really nice and that
lots of other top artists had performed there, and we
thought... why not?
I remember those concerts I sang with the Cincinatti Symphony as among
the best I had done. The 100 member orchestra played to perfection,
the audience responded to the concerts with standing ovations at both
shows. I left Cincinatti feeling wonderful.
What I remember about flying to Cactus Petes was being crammed
into a tiny, regional jet... single seats on either side of the aisle.
A winter weather front was coming in, and we bounced up and down,
up and down, as we headed northwest, over the remote mountainous countryside.
There might even have been some lightning flashing out of the window.
It was one of those tiny commuter planes with a low ceiling, which
forced me, at 511, to hunch over as I made my way to my
hard, tiny seat. I looked around at Daryl and our group (we had met
up at the Salt Lake City airport), and most of them were gripping
the armrests tightly, ashen-faced. We finally landed safely in a little
airport that was so small it barely existed. We were picked up by
hotel personnel, and after about a 90 minute drive, were delivered,
shaken AND stirred, at Cactus Petes.
At first glance, it seemed like a pretty nice place.... out in the
middle of nowhere..but nice, as regional casinos go. There were cars
in the parking lot, although I didnt see any people walking
around. It was FREEZING cold, and an icy wind was howling when we
stepped out of the cars. Are people REALLY going to come here
for Thanksgiving weekend? I thought to myself as I looked around?
I knew it wasnt something I would do.
We were shown to a very nice, spacious high roller suite.
We were hungry after our trip, but Daryl and I were to discover, much
to our dismay, that most
of the food available wasnt on our diet..... no fresh fruit,
not much in the way of vegies, no fresh salads, DEFINITELY no whole
grains....you get the gist. And there was no place to go to GET any
healthy food. Cactus Petes was the only place around
for miles and miles.
But the food concerns PALED when we got our first look at the
showroom. The stage was small and cramped, the showroom
itself was smallish and smelled of stale smoke. The only way to get
backstage was through dark, musty, poorly lit hallways. It was actually
scary. I kept thinking, Is this building up to CODE?? What
would we do in case of a fire??? And my other thought was, This
showroom is so small, how can they actually make any money, even if
all the seats are filled, considering what they are paying us?
I was miserable, and I smelled
The weather got worse and worse.
Our tech people gamely did the best they could to set up our equipment.
I was embarrassed for them, for the band, and for us. Then I started
feeling guilty. What if very few people showed up? Id feel terrible
if the casino had to pay us, even though if we didnt draw a
Opening night. Probably 20 people in the showroom. Who knows where
the heck they came from.... maybe they were locals, if
there were any. I was close to tears. Had it come to this? Yes, the
weather was terrible and dangerous, but wouldnt SOME people
brave the icy roads and howling winds to hear us play? Not many.
We played anyway... after each tune hearing the light applause gamely
afforded us by the paltry audience. We did the best shows we could
under the circumstances, remembering the old theatre adage... even
if there is just one person in the audience who paid to see you, they
deserve the best show you can possibly do. Still, I cannot tell you
how hard it was, and how grateful Daryl and I were when the shows
were over. I believe we gave the casino back a percentage of the fee,
because we felt so bad about not drawing an audience.
Daryl and I rented a car after the gig was over, and made a frightening
drive through blowing snow over the two-lane state road to Elko, Nevada,
where we waited while the tiny regional jet that would take us back
home was de-iced
a couple of times before it finally took off with us on it. After
that, we fired
our personal manager and the booking agent. We were MUCH
more careful after that about where and when we would perform. For
both of us, the most important thing about performing is NOT how much
money we can make, but how musically fulflling and even joyous it
can be. Our Cactus Petes experience will always remain a bad
memory for us. All I will say about it now is that we learned a couple
of very hard lessons from the experience.
On another note.... On Monday, Daryl and I will finally be breaking
ground for our new home in Arizona. It will take about
a year to build it, during which time well travel back and forth
many times to check on the construction progress. We have rented a
small place there for the summer to get away from the stifling heat
here in the Coachella Valley. I always try to get TONIS TAKE
written every Sunday, but my schedule for the next several months
might be a bit erratic as we deal with all the traveling. If you dont
see it on Sundays, just give me a day or two to catch up.
Until next week...Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart! / (
SISTER VISIT | HOW DOCTORS THINK
| DATE SHAKES | AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS | JOSHUA BELL
Im a day late with TONIS TAKE because my sister, Louisa,
and her husband, Bob, were here for a visit this weekend. Most of
you who are regular readers know how much I enjoy having Louisa and
Bob here. They are wonderfully bright and wryly funny people, and
they both make me laugh. We talked about family, the mostly sorry
state of the world today, politics, the environment and religion,
among other things. And, since we are pretty much on the same page
about most things, our conversations are interesting (to us), lively,
and stress free.
HOW DOCTORS THINK
Louisa and I are both hot on a new book by Jerome Groopman, M.D.,
and Id like to recommend it to you. It is called HOW
DOCTORS THINK. I first heard of it in the New York Times Book
Review, and it proved to be as fascinating as it sounded. I knew Louisa
would love it, because it helps to explain why it took so long, and
so many different doctors, to finally diagnose her Hyperparathyroidism.
Dr. Groopman explains why doctors sometimes, without even realizing
it, make errors in judgement and engage in snap diagnoses
based on the most common reasons for certain symptoms. Most of the
time they get it right, but they can be wrong, with catastrophic consquences.
Dr. Groopman also gives excellent advice on how to help your doctor
make the correct diagnosis for your problem.
Around 11AM on Saturday morning Louisa, Bob and I headed over to the
OASIS DATE GARDENS
in Coachella, CA, about 15 minutes from here, where we indulged in
totally sinful, lusciously delicious date shakes. Oasis makes them
with fresh dates, not dried, granulated dates as some do, and they
are so thick you have to eat them with a spoon! We enjoyed our date
shakes at a picnic table on the grassy lawn outside, under the shade
of one of the towering date palms. The weather was warm and the shakes
were rich and icy cold. Heaven.
Daryl didnt join us on this little excursion, since he gave
up refined sugar long ago, but he does love the Medjool Dates (the
softest, sweetest ones) stuffed with walnuts, so I always buy several
packages to bring home for him (and for me). They make a great, healthy
snack. You can order a huge variety of dates from Oasis Date Gardens
but you have to come to the Coachella Valley for the shakes!
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
Quite a few of you have written, asking whether or not we watch AMERICAN
IDOL, and if so, what we think about it. We dont watch it. I
cant answer for Daryl, but I have a real problem with the verbal
afforded the contestants by the judges, and the way these
hopefuls are manipulated by the Big Machine they find themselves in
once they enter American Idol World. Yes, show business
can be tough, cruel and mean, but those aspects are not often played
out on national television for all the world to see.
Daryl and I are very cynical about the whole concept. And, although
I admit I have never seen a copy of an actual contract between a contestant
and AMERICAN IDOL, I suspect the contestants have had to give up creative
rights, career control, and a huge percentage of future royalties
in order to compete. Many people say, Well, they would never
have made it at all without AMERICAN IDOL, so it is a fair exchange.
Perhaps it is, but it wouldnt work for me.
I am also sure that hopefuls, desperate to make it, will
give up anything for the chance at stardom. And some on American Idol
HAVE achieved it. But there is something about the whole American
Idol process that doesnt feel quite ethical or right to me.
I may be wrong, and maybe giving up rights and control is fine with
the contestants, but since Daryl and I worked so hard to retain those
things in our own career, it doesnt sit right with me.
I actually have a family experience with AMERICAN IDOL. My nephew,
Ben.... my sister Melissas oldest son... flew up to the San
Francisco Bay Area last year to audition, along with over a thousand
people, for AMERICAN IDOL. Although he wasnt chosen, he told
Melissa that he did get to sing most of the song he had prepared,
and none of the judges said unpleasant things about his
performance. Ben was pretty happy with the whole experience, but he
said he wouldnt try again.
On another musical topic... a friend of mine who is married to a classical
musician sent me a link to a recent story in the Washington Post...
a story that made me sad in many ways. Let me tell you about it, and
try to express why the article affected me so much.
and brilliant, JOSHUA
BELL is considered one of the finest violinists of this generation.
He plays all over the world to Standing Room Only audiences. If you
saw the film THE RED VIOLIN, you will remember him as the solo violinist
who played the Grammy Award winning score by one of my favorite contemporary
classical composers, John Corigliano. Bell plays with technical perfection
and gorgeous tone on the famous Gibson Stradivarius violin, which
is worth millions of dollars, and comes with a fascinating history
in itself. Read about him and his violin at http://www.joshuabell.com/.
The Washington Post approached Bell with an idea for a social
experiment. He would play a full concert on solo violin, unannounced
and anonymously, in a Washington D.C. subway station during rush hour.
The Washington Post reporters would observe how commuters reacted,
or IF they reacted, to the performance by this brilliant musician,
who appeared to be just like any other street musician, playing for
tips. What do YOU think happened? I truly was not surprised by what
ensued, but I was saddened. Here is the link to the story, which also
includes some video of the event: http://www.washingtonpost.com
. Id love to hear your thoughts after you have read the article.
Im off now to do the things I didnt get done while Lu
and Bob were here. I hope you had a wonderful Easter week. Until next
week Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.( LISTEN
NABISCO GOLF FINAL COMMENTS | THE STORY BEHIND IF THERE WERE
The ProAm part of the Kraft Nabisco Golf Tournament is over for
2007. All that remains now is to see which of the great women golfers
will win this first major tournament of the LPGA
season. I didnt play in the ProAm this year. I have played
very little golf since last summer, and I just felt my game wasnt
ready for prime time. So I participated in what they call LADIES
DAY instead, and I took a few of the golf clinics offered by some
of the top LPGA and local professionals who give instruction to
the guests during the tournament. And, as usual at the tournament,
I met many, many nice people from all over the country... most of
them in the food business.
Rob Stanger, the Assistant Director of Instruction at The Golf Academy
at Mission Hills, where the Nabisco Tournament is held, MAY just
have taught me once and for all how to hit my ball out of a sandtrap
(instead of throwing it out, which is what I usually do).
Daryl just added a photo of me taken during Ladies Day this year.
Click on the MEMORIES icon (which I
am trying to get Daryl to change to PHOTOS instead)
to see the photo. You might be able to see that I am holding a golf
ball on which I have signed Toni with a blue sharpie.
That is how I mark all of the balls I play with. So if you ever
play one of the courses where I have been playing, and you find
a Toni ball in a lake, in the rough, under a rock, or
stuck in a tree, you will know it is mine! Feel free to keep it...
or play it yourself. I just hope it stays in the fairway for you!
IF THERE WERE TIME
I received a lovely note from a reader, asking about the DREAM album....
he particularly wanted to know about IF THERE WERE TIME, which was
arranged and conducted by the great Gordon
That particular track is very special to me. It was the first time
I ever sang with full orchestra, and it was a thrill beyond compare.
IF THERE WERE TIME was very different from the kind of music people
expected from the group that brought them LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER,
SHOP AROUND, and MUSKRAT LOVE to name a few. But you should remember
that Daryl and I both were raised in musical homes, where the great
songs, artists and arrangers of the 30s, 40s and early 50s were treasured
and loved. Daryls father, CARMEN
DRAGON, was an Academy Award winning conductor and composer, and
my father, FRANK TENNILLE was a big band singer in the late 1930s
(daddy often sang under the stage name, CLARK RANDALL).
Here is the story of - IF THERE WERE TIME.
JOHNSTON, who wrote the music for IF THERE WERE TIME, was a member
of the BEACH BOYS backup band back in the 60s. He was hired to take
over for BRIAN
WILSON after Brian stopped touring. But Daryl and Bruce go back
quite a few years before those Beach Boy days. Daryl and Bruce first
met at a coffee house in Venice, California called THE BLUE HORN.
Daryl says it was just a spot where musicians would meet to jam....nobody
made any money to speak of.
Bruce was playing piano there...he was about 18 years old Daryl thinks...
and Daryl was really impressed with his musicianship. Eventually,
in the 1960s, Bruce and Daryl both ended up in the Beach Boys band,
Bruce playing keyboard and singing Brians parts, and Daryl playing
acoustic piano and, sometimes, organ. Bruce eventually became an official
Beach Boy, and still tours today with lead singer and
songwriter, Mike Love. Daryl eventually left the Boys to work with
me, thank God!
Daryl tells me that Bruce could really wail a blues tune. I never
knew that part of Bruce. What impressed me most was the incredible
beauty and complexity of the songs he wrote. Most of you will know
Bruce for his song, I WRITE THE SONGS, which Barry Manilow
made so famous. Daryl and I were actually the first artists to record
it, but Barry made it a hit. Im rather sentimental about our
version of the song, because all four of my sisters AND my mother
sang on it. Mom just sang a note or two, but shes THERE! And
Melissas beautiful soprano floats like an angels voice
at the top of the background vocals. Still, Barry Manilow knew exactly
what it took to make the song a huge smash, which was wonderful for
Barry, and great for Bruce.
Over the years we recorded several of Bruces tunes. A
couple of my favorites are THANK YOU BABY from the SONG OF JOY
album, and DONT BE SCARED from the COME IN FROM THE RAIN album.
Bruces melodies were exquisite, and his chord structures were
complex, interesting and deeply moving. I often thought that, in some
ways, Bruce was born a bit too late for his style of writing. Sinatra
would have snapped up his songs in a heartbeat. And, remember, Bruce
usually wrote his own lyrics, which were quite good.
When he first played IF THERE WERE TIME for us, I fell inlove with
the song immediately. For this song, poet
Rod McKuen wrote the lyrics.
- If there were
time, oh I would buy you a ribbon of rain
And a silver-tongued nightengale to sing out your name,
If there were time, oh I would fly you across the room
Then Id carry you back again through the afternoon....
But the last line of the song is what absolutely killed me.
- .....but Time
is a messenger that comes and goes so fast
And while thinking up the good times, all our good times have passed.
Time has certainly passed since we recorded that song.... about thirty
years! And time is even more precious to us now.
Anyhow.... the more Daryl and I listened to the song, the more we
became convinced it should be done in the style of an earlier era.
Daryl said, I cant do this song justice. Gordon Jenkins
should arrange it. Gordon Jenkins was the legendary arranger
for many great artists. Check out his credits on his Wikipedia
bio. My favorite arrangement of his was the one he wrote for IT WAS
A VERY GOOD YEAR on Frank Sinatras 1966 album, THE SEPTEMBER
OF MY YEARS. Gordon arranged the entire album for Sinatra. The songs
are suffused with a deep melancholy and longing by both singer and
arranger, perfect for a man approaching the September
of his years. Daryl and I both felt that Gordon was the ONLY arranger
who could do justice to IF THERE WERE TIME.
But here was the problem. Neither Daryl nor I knew the man. The only
thing we knew was that he lived in Malibu, where Daryl grew up. Also,
since we were just a pop group, we werent even sure he would
work with us.
Somehow we managed to get a phone number for him. When I spoke to
him, he agreed to come out to our Pacific Palisades home and listen
to Bruces song. He made it very clear that, if he didnt
like the song, he wouldnt do the arrangement.
On the day he arrived at our house, I was a nervous wreck. I was so
in awe of him, and hoped against hope that he would agree to arrange
the song. We had Bruces lead sheet on the Steinway concert grand
in the Great Room, and I sat down and went over the chart with him,
and sang some of it for him. Well, he loved the song, and said he
would write the arrangement for a thirty-three piece orchestra, and
would also conduct the orchestra for the recording session.
On the day of the recording, which we did in one of the large studios
at A&M records, we walked in to find Gordon and thirty-three of
the finest musicians in Los Angeles ready to record IF THERE WERE
TIME. When they played the arrangement so our recording engineer,
Roger Young, could adjust the mikes and get his levels set (and so
I could familarize myself with the chart), I thought I had died and
gone to heaven!
Once all the levels were set, it was time to record. Gordon gave the
downbeat, and the achingly gorgeous intro began. I closed my eyes,
and gave myself up to the music. In a few minutes, it was over. We
listened to the playback, and I was incredibly moved by what I heard...it
was one of the great personal musical experiences of my life.
Bruce hated it.
Like most composers, including ME, Bruce is very protective of his
chord changes. He works very hard to get them exactly the way he wants
them, and they are NOT to be fooled with. Gordon Jenkins never met
a chord he didnt change for HIS personal vision of a song. Gordon
was famous for what we call subsitutions....putting a
different chord in place of the one that was written by the composer.
Most of the time, when arrangers write chord substitutions, it just
pisses off the composer. But, to me, Gordon Jenkins was in an entirely
different class. As far as I was concerned, he could subsitute any
chord he wanted for any chord I ever wrote, and I would be thrilled!
But Bruce wasnt thrilled, and hardly spoke to us for a long
time after that.
wasnt happy either. The session was rather expensive.... thirty-three
top LA musicians, most of whom were making double or triple scale.
We were called on the carpet for the expense of that session, and
were told in no uncertain terms NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. Luckily,
we had a big hit, YOU NEVER DONE IT LIKE THAT, from the DREAM album,
which helped keep A&M quiet. But, we never DID do it again.
I sang IF THERE WERE TIME with symphony orchestras a few times, but
I always felt bad about doing it, since Bruce hated it so much, and
eventually I stopped singing it. But so much time has passed, and
things tend to calm down. I think Bruce forgave us and Gordon for
ruining his song, but we havent seen him in at least
seven or eight years.
Gordon Jenkins died of Lou
Gherigs Disease in Malibu, California in 1984. He was 73
Thats the story of us, Bruce Johnston, Gordon Jenkins and IF
THERE WERE TIME. Now that you know the whole story, if you have the
DREAM CD, take a listen to it again. Until next week, Keep A Song
of Joy Inside Your Heart.
TEES OFF AT THE NABISCO
The first major competition of Ladies Professional Golf Association
season begins tomorrow at the Mission
Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA. For most of the past
16 years I have donated my time to participate in the ProAm and
other activities associated with the tournament. I started this
when the wonderful singer (and wonderful human being)
Dinah Shore headed up the tournament, and invited me to participate.
At that time the tournament was named after her, and all of us who
played in the ProAm called it The Dinah.
Dinah Shore had most of her many, many hit recordings during the
30s and 40s, and she had one of those voices that was instantly
recognizeable. She was born and raised in Tennessee... she was just
about the same age as my mom.... and she was just a lovely, gracious
person. After her death a few years ago, the Kraft Nabisco company
took her name off the tournament, which really angered those of
us who knew and loved her. She did so much for the LPGA, and we
felt that removing her name was uncalled for.
The Kraft Nabisco company tried to soften the blow by naming the
tournment course, formerly called the Old Course, the
DINAH SHORE TOURNAMENT COURSE, and also installing a bronze statue
of Dinah at the famous 18th hole. For a few years after her death,
those of us who loved and admired Dinah stubbornly continued to
refer to the tournament as THE DINAH. However, I have finally given
up, and call it THE NABISCO. As a so-called celebrity,
I continue to participate in it, though, because the money earned
goes to charity, and the celebs are part of what brings paying guests
to the tournament.
Since, for one reaason or another, I have only played golf five
or six times since last summer, Ive decided not to play in
the ProAm portion of the tournament this year.... my
game is just too embarrassing right now!!!! I WILL be playing
in what is called LADIES DAY. LADIES DAY is fun because you play
nine relaxing holes in the best ball format. Then they
serve you a lovely lunch on the patio of the Westin Mission Hills
Hotel, and give you a bag of goodies. I have met many
terrific women from all over the country while playing in LADIES
DAY, and once in a while, you even get to play with an LPGA Hall
of Fame golfer!
Ill also be participating in the golf clinics given during
the week to guests of the tournament.... not as an INSTRUCTOR, of
course!!! As a STUDENT. I might even FINALLY learn how to get my
ball out of a sand trap as I meet, greet, and pose for photographs
with the guests.
I will get back to TONIS TAKE next week, but this week belongs
to THE DINAH! Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.- LISTEN
2007 / St. Patty's Day !
MEMORIES | OUR FIRST GIGS
Saint Pattys Day is here again, and I have to look around in
my closet and see if I have anything green to wear to a neighborhood
gathering this evening. The only shade of green that looks good on
me is apple green....but since Ireland is known for its
myriad shades of green, I figure my apple green tee shirt will be
Irish enough for the event.
Saint Patricks Day takes me back to about 1972, when Daryl and
I were struggling to find clubs that would hire us. Daryl was our
agent, and you can imagine the response of the club owners
when they heard Daryls rather monotone voice on the phone saying
(and I SWEAR this is exactly what he would say), Hello. Im
a duo looking for work. Ninety-five percent of the time the
response would be, Not hiring right now, and then a dial
Why didnt I do the calling? Because it was embarrassing to me.
Ive never been one to try to sell myself. Im
just damned lucky I finally had a successful career, because if it
had been up to me to try to promote myself, Id still be working
at North American Aviation. And Daryl...bless his heart...was not
much better. He tried, but he certainly wasnt a salesman.
Somehow, by hook or crook or by sheer luck, we managed to find work
at an assortment of local LA clubs. There was DAVIDS, a gay
club at Melrose and La Brea in Los Angeles. We got that gig though
a local agent named Dimples Fox, and that was really her name! Anyhow,
I guess she felt sorry for us, and found us a week at DAVIDS.
I actually loved working there, because the gay men that frequented
the place were a very enthusiastic audience. They loved my singing
(and Im sure more than a few of them had their eyes on Daryl),
and they were a particularly knowledgeable music crowd. They were
very encouraging to us, and we began to think we might have something
special going for us. I think we played there two or three weeks.
There was RON PERANOWSKIS STADIUM CLUB...a nightclub in the
San Fernando Valley that was owned by a former Dodger pitcher. It
was dark and dank and smelled like stale cigarette smoke and spilled
beer. I guess Peranowski always wanted to own a nightclub, and after
he retired he opened the Stadium Club. Although we were booked for
about a week, I only lasted a couple of nights. Most of you know about
my terrible allergy to smoke, and I swear the Stadium Club had NO
ventilation, and EVERYBODY at the club smoked constantly. I promptly
lost my voice, and that was that.
Then there was a little club in Canoga Park called the SANS SOUCI.
We got that gig because Daryl asked one of his old friends, Bob,
to make the HelloImADuoLookingForWork phone call for us. This
friend had a BIG BOOMING BARITONE VOICE like that Announcer
Guy in the current Geiko Car Insurance TV spots. Daryl figured
Bob, with his big voice, would get a more positive response.
Well, Bob managed to persuade a skeptical owner to book
us for a couple of nights at twenty-five bucks per night. After our
two nights the owner fired us, because we werent bringing
in enough business. I have always loved the fact that the SANS
SOUCI was just a block away from what became RUMBO
RECORDERS, the successful recording studio we later owned for
But I have digressed. Back to St. Pattys Day. Somehow, Daryl
and I managed to get ourselves booked into a restaurant/bar in downtown
LA called OSHAUGNESSYS. In fact, if you dig into the MEMORIES
link on our website, you will see a 1973 photo of us that was taken
while we worked there. I still remember that little gray panne velvet
dress I was wearing!
OShaugnesseys was located in the lower level of a huge
office building in downtown LA. What I remember most was how hard
it was for the two of us to haul all the instruments and the PA system
from the loading dock, down a freight elevator, into the club. Daryls
Hammond organ alone (similar to a B3, for those of you interested
in that sort of thing) weighed 500 pounds. He and I had to move it
in all by ourselves, since roadies
were out of the question on the paltry salary we made. The organ was
not only heavy, but moving it was literally terrifying to me. Daryl
was worried about the organ, but I was worried about it falling on
my FOOT! I was always relieved when we finally got it into place without
its falling on either of us.
The OShaugnessys gig was just a regular gig for us....
we played our usual mix of Elton, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Carole
King and Carly Simon songs, among other Top 40 songs popular at the
time. And then, when I thought we could get away with it, Id
throw in one of my original compositions. Most of the time the patrons
were talking or eating, so we were just background music.
And then one night, as we were headed to work, I said to Daryl, Hey,
I think its Saint Patricks Day.
We might need to play an Irish tune. We decided that, since
we both knew OH DANNY BOY, we would play that some time during the
evening, in honor of the holiday.
Well, when we got there, the place was jammed with people who, if
they werent of Irish heritage, had decided they would be Irish
that night. They were drinkng heavily, and it was still EARLY. It
was that kind of jovial, blotto crowd that was just edging towards
a drunker, darker mood. I started to get nervous.
Once we started playing, we began to get the requests....Cant
you play something IRISH...its Saint Patricks Day, for
Gods sake! Whoa. We immediately played OH DANNY BOY, and
that seemed to pacify them for a short while.
Then, as they became more and more
inebriated, more and more of them approached, slurring their words....Youre
working at OShaugnessys! Dont you know any Irish
songs?!!! Once again, out of fear actually, we played OH DANNY
BOY. This happened several times over the evening, and all that Daryl
and I wanted to do was GET THE HELL OUTTA THERE! It was like beating
back an angry
mob.... wed spray them with the firehose (OH DANNY BOY for
the umpteenth time), and theyd regroup and surge forward angrily
again. The fact that we got out of there with ourselves and our instruments
intact was a miracle.
I actually have Irish in my heritage, and I love many Irish songs,
but since Daryl and I only had OH DANNY BOY in our repertoire, we
decided never again to play an Irish club on St. Pattys Day!
Thats TONIS TAKE for this week! Ill close with a
little Irish saying.
- AN IRISHMANS PHILOSOPHY
In life, there are only two things to worry about
Either you are well or you are sick.
If you are well, there is nothing to worry about,
But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about
Either you will get well or you will die.
If you get well, there is nothing to worry about,
But if you die, there are only two things to worry about
Either you will go to heaven or hell.
If you go to heaven, there is nothing to worry about.
And if you go to hell, youll be so busy shaking hands with all
You wont have time to worry!
Until next week....Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.-
BRONCHITIS | ELTON JOHN | HEARING PROTECTION
You have bronchitis, he said, flatly.
No, I dont! I insisted. I could not POSSIBLY
have bronchitis. I havent had bronchitis since I was fifteen
You have bronchitis, he said again.
No I dont! I said, stubbornly. This is just
the tail end of that flu, and I can shake it off.
You have bronchitis. GO TO THE DOCTOR! he said, finally
losing his patience.
You have bronchitis, said Dr. Allen, after listening
to my lungs and removing the stethoscope from her ears.
- Score one for Dr.
I am now on meds, and feeling just incrementally better... improving
by inches instead of leaps and bounds like I usually do. So I am
going to blame my tardy TONIS TAKE on the bronchitis. At least
this didnt happen just before a concert, or right in the middle
of the VICTOR/VICTORIA tour. I cant tell you the number of
nightmares Ive had about getting a cold or the flu when I
had concerts to do!
But now on to other topics.
One of you recently asked about my experiences with Elton
John. Im really sorry to say that I actually havent
spent much time with Sir Elton,
in spite of having sung backgrounds on some of his recordings.
It would be lovely to think that we all gathered in a studio, and
played or sang together for these sessions, but the truth is the sessions
were usually done on separate occasions, and in separate studios.
Elton was never in studio when I was contributing background vocals
for his tracks. Usually his producer, Gus
Dudgeon (who is now deceased) would put together a basic track
for Elton. Elton would then lay down a work vocal, and
do his final vocal after the entire track was finished. We never saw
each other during the recording sessions.
I sang on Eltons DONT LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME.... if
you listen carefully, you can hear my voice in the MIDDLE of the chord,
where I usually sang so I could blend better with the other voices.
I also did background vocals on SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD
from his BLUE MOVES album, and Daryl wrote the background bass-vocal
arrangement for CRAZY WATER.
Singing background vocals is a true art. The singer needs to listen
to the other singers, and make sure that he or she blends with the
other voices. If you cant hear the other voices as you sing,
you are too loud! What you want to achieve in background vocals is
a seamless blend, with no particular vocal style standing out. It
is not that easy to do, and Ive always loved the challenge.
I finally DID meet Sir Elton when he, Natalie
Cole and I hosted the American
Music Awards in 1982 (I believe that was the year). What I remember
about him most was that he kept me and Natalie in absolute stitches
the entire time we were rehearsing for the show. He was hysterically
funny, with a very dry, self deprecating wit.
As I worked with Elton on that show, I kept remembering back to when
Daryl and I played at The Smokehouse in Encino, CA in the early 70s...
long before we ever had a prayer of a hit record. I sang several of
Eltons songs each night, but I particularly loved DANIEL. I
have never quite figured out what Bernie Taupins lyrics for
DANIEL meant, but it didnt matter. I had my own ideas of what
I was singing about, and the melody was plaintive and lovely.
Eltons record producer, Gus Dudgeon, had a very unique style
of creating the final mixes for Eltons tracks. Daryl and I were
in England in the mid to late 70s to do some promotion and tape a
television special for the BBC (wonder if they still have that show
in their vault). While we were there, Gus Dudgeon invited us to his
studio to hear the mixes he was working on for Eltons latest
Now, before I tell you about Guss mixing style, let me tell
you how Daryl listens to his final mixes. After he and the engineer
think they have a good mix.... eqs just right, good balance of instruments,
the perfect sound on my lead vocal.... Daryl listens to the mix on
speakers at a relatively soft volume. Quite a few engineers and
producers love to turn everything up as loud as they can, because
it usually sounds powerful and exciting. But WE were mixing for radio,
too. The record had to sound good coming out of small speakers, such
as those in an automobile, in addition to sounding great on top notch
stereo equipment (remember, this was the 70s!). Daryl always felt
he could get a much better idea of how the song would sound on the
radio by listening at a soft to moderate volume.
When we arrived at the studio, Gus proceeded to play for us a final
mix he was working on. IT WAS SO LOUD IT ALMOST BACKED ME UP AGAINST
THE WALL!!!!! I mean, the sound was actually painful. I thought
that Gus might be losing his hearing, and HAD to turn it up that loud
so he could hear what he was working on. But he later told me and
Daryl that he turned every track up until it hurt. If
it was painful to listen to, he turned it down a bit until it was
just LOUD. I have to say, it worked for him. Gus produced some of
Eltons greatest recordings. I often wonder, however, if his
hearing started to go later in his career.
Daryl and I are so fanatic about protecting
our hearing that we always take ear plugs to every concert
we attend, just in case we need them. We broke that rule a couple
of years ago, when we attended Barry
Manilows show in Las Vegas. It was a FABULOUS show, by the
way, but it was so loud, it shook my body and blew me back in my seat.
I have no idea why Barry felt he had to maintain such a volume, but
perhaps he didnt know how loud it was in the house.
As performers, we are really at the mercy of our house
sound mixers. The artist cant always tell how loud it is in
the concert hall. Daryl and I rely on our Personal Assistant, Becky,
to listen in the hall during rehearsals to check for balance and volume.
I hate it when people walk out because the show is too loud. At Barrys
show, all I had in my purse was some kleenex, so I wadded it up and
stuffed it in my ears for the duration of the show. It helped a bit,
but I sure wished I had brought the ear
Well, dear readers, I am going to close for now and work on getting
back to my old self again. Until next week... Keep A Song of Joy
Inside Your Heart!-
OUR PALISADES HOME | CATS
...Oh, everybody needs a home
Where all the vibrations are flowing
In a positive way... (from BUTTERSCOTCH CASTLE by Toni Tennille)
It is an absolutely gorgeous Sunday morning here in La Quinta... a
carbon copy of yesterday. The high temps are expected to be in the
mid 70s, with cheerful sunlight, a few clouds, and just a bit of a
breeze. The only thing I can feel as I enjoy it all is grateful thanks.
And thanks, once again, to those of you who have written with get
well wishes. I am totally back up to speed with my strength and energy,
but the sniffles and naggingly persistant cough linger on. Word is
those symptoms could continue for another couple of weeks!!!!
This coming April, Daryl and I will break ground, in Arizona, on the
third home we have built together from the ground up. I was thinking
back, this morning, on all of the houses we have lived in since we
have been together.
The house we bought in Pacific Palisades, California in 1975 (with
LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER money) was the first home we purchased
together. It was a sprawling, French Country style home, built in
the early 1930s on a large lot, landscaped in what I would call a
tossed salad style. The house was spacious, rambling and
utterly charming and had been designed by a female architect (or so
we were told).
My mother, Cathryn, found it for us. She was a licensed realtor, and
set about finding the perfect first home for us. We were
so busy and overwhelmed after LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER hit the charts,
we didnt have time to look at houses ourselves. Mother sure
knew how to find the right house for her eldest daughter...... Daryl
and I loved it the moment we walked in.
The house was located in a very
desirable Pacific Palisades
neighborhood on Amalfi Drive, just a few blocks from the famous
Riviera Golf Club. One of its former owners was the famous Hollywood
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and his wife. In fact, her initials were
intricately carved in the antique mahagony door leading to the master
I immediately set about decorating the place, and, of
course, in my enthusiasm, went waaay overboard! I was inlove with
floral wallpaper at the time, and I decided that every room had to
have its own color. There was the Pink Room
(a guest bedroom/extra room), the Yellow Room (a sort
of a library), and the Master Bedroom, which I wallpapered in a BLACK
paper with a cream colored floral motif. It was actually quite lovely
and very French, but, overall, it was quite over the top!
My favorite story about the reaction to my decorating was what happened
when we finally put the house up for sale before we moved to Lake
Tahoe. Many, many rather well-known people came through to look at
it when it was on the market... among them, television producer Tony
Thomas, actor Dustin
Hoffman, and singer/songwriter, Bob
Dylan, who, after touring the house, turned to his agent and
said, Too many G--damned flowers! Hah! He was right.
As the years have gone by, my decorating has become more and more
minimalist and Zen,
aiming more for calm and peaceful surroundings and soothing, soft
colors. Guess it comes with getting older!
While we lived in the Palisades house, Daryl and I added a pool, a
huge covered patio, and a tennis court. There were always workmen
around, and things being torn out or installed. Also, shortly after
we moved in, we learned that the plumbing and electrical systems were
ancient and had been mostly destroyed by rats and such. All of that
had to be replaced..... a huge expense. That was before sellers had
to disclose, by law, anything wrong with the property.
Still, I have so many wonderful memories of living in that house.
I wrote quite a few songs there. I remember Daryls coming up
with the crazy jungle
arrangement for LONELY NIGHT ANGEL FACE while we lived there.
I also remember hearing Neil Sedakas version of YOU NEVER DONE
IT LIKE THAT, and deciding that the song might work really well for
us. However, the beat just wasnt right... .not sassy or sensual
enough in my opinion. Daryl had his keyboards and other equipment
set up in the infamous Pink Room, so I suggested he sequester
himself in there to try to find the right hook for the
song. After a few hours of struggling with the beat, he finally called
me in and played what he had come up with. PERFECT. He must have been
inspired by all those pink flowers Dylan disliked so much!
I also remember writing DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME in that house
at the Steinway Grand in the Great Room. Most of you know the story
of how I came to write that song. Anyhow, in 1979 we were getting
ready to record our first album for our new label, Casablanca Records,
and were gathering songs for the project. The young president of Casablanca,
Bogart, and the vice president of the label, Bruce Bird, came
over to our house to hear what we had come up with. We played them
a few things we had in mind. Then Daryl said to me, Why dont
you play that song you just wrote?
Well, I was very hesitant to play it, because it was so SIMPLE. I
thought it was just a little song, and not a very big
deal, but I sat down at the electric piano sang it for Neil and Bruce.
Well, after I finished, Neil JUMPED to his feet and shouted, Thats
a SMASH!!!!! Daryl and I couldnt believe his reaction,
but you know the end of the story. In 1980 DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE
TIME became a #1 single for us, in addition to being the second biggest-selling
single we ever had. The guy had ears. Neil died at age 39... a terrible
loss.... and the label fell apart after that.
In the end, we sold the Palisades house to famous TV Producer (Hill
Streeet Blues, LA Law, and NYPD Blue, among others) Stephen
Bochco and his then wife, actress Barbara Bosson.
On another subject, quite a few of you wrote to ask about our
cats. We have three of them.... IVY, a beautiful, sassy,
talkative Calico, and two tuxedo cats named VICTOR and
TORIA. And, of course, there is a story there.
I returned from my VICTOR/VICTORIA tour in June of 1999. Shortly after
that, I took our dog, Adelaide, to the vet for her regular Rabies
vaccination. One of the vet techs asked me to come over and see a
litter of kittens that had been born to a female stray someone had
dropped off at the vet hospital. There, gathered around their mother
in the wire cage, were the tiniest little kittens I think Ive
ever seen. They were only a couple of weeks old, and when the vet
tech told me the date of their birth, I realized it was the SAME date
as my return from the tour.
In the darkness of the cage, I could just make out two tiny little
black and white kittens with tuxedo markings..... white
feet, white under the chin, white on the tummy. Since I had just spent
most of the past year wearing a tuxedo onstage, since they were born
on the day I returned from tour, and since one my of my cats had been
killed (probably by a coyote) while I was out on tour (a HUGE trauma
for me), I knew we would give them a home.
They turned out to be brother and sister, and we brought them home
when they were 4 weeks of age. They were tiny and kind of ratty
looking afer their difficult start in life, but now... what a change...
especially for VICTOR. He is an 18 1/2 pound, sleek black god! I call
him the Brad
Pitt of cats, but I dont think he is quite as bright as
Pitt. His sister, TORIA, despite receiving exactly the same love and
care, is less than half his size (but twice as smart). They are eight
years old now (I cant believe it has been that long either),
and are an important part of our current menagerie.
Daryl just passed by me on his way to lie in the sun for a few minutes.
Although he didnt get the fever I had, he has all the other
symptoms Im dealing with.... sniffles, maddening little
persistant cough. I think Ill head out there and join him for
a while. I hope your Sunday has been a good one, too. Until next week,
Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. -
THE DAMNED FLU!!!!
I just have to thank all of you who wrote with Get well soon
wishes. I just cant believe I came down with this damned flu
bug. I did everything Im supposed to do to prevent it.....
I got a flu shot, always slather my hands with Purelle
after touching anything like a shopping cart handle, am very careful
my hands often, and live a VERY healthy lifestyle! But in SPITE
of all of that, I ended up in
bed for four days with a fever hovering between 100 and 102
Mostly it just pisses me off...what a waste of precious time! There
are so many things I should be doing, but, even if I felt better,
I wouldnt want to be out there, spreading this flu to anybody
else. Today my temp is normal (or at least it was a couple of hours
ago). After I got up this morning and found my temperature normal,
I stripped the bed, threw the sheets in the washing machine, and
then took a shower to wash away the remainder of the
flu. And even though I feel like merde,
I thought Id maybe head over to the market later this afternoon
for a few staples we are almost out of. I figured that, since I
dont have a fever anymore, I am probably not contagious.
However, everyone has been warning me that you can easily relapse
from this strain of the flu, so I am forcing myself to cool my jets
for another day. I need to make sure that my temperature stays down
for at least another twenty-four hours before I plunge right back
into my busy life.
Believe me, if you are under the weather, you wouldn't choose Daryl
as your caregiver. Now, I adore him... hes brilliant and
funny in his own way, and there are so many things he does in
this relationship that hold up his end of the deal, but caregiving
is not a good thing for him. I am pretty much taking care of myself,
although he DID go to the market yesterday to buy me some chicken
soup and fruit juice, and he IS cooking
for himself. However, if I were REALLY ill, I'd have to hire
He doesn't want to walk the dogs, because he absolutely will NOT
pick up dog
poop, which is required in our development (and rightfully so).
Poop-picking-up is my job. Of course, our two Australian Shepherds
are bouncing off the walls, desperately needing their daily three
mile walk to take the edge off their incredible energy! So Daryl
found a place nearby, where he could slip through a gate, and run
the dogs in a former artichoke field that is being developed for
homes... no one was working there on the weekend, so he just let
them poop where they wanted to, and ignored it. The bulldozers will
plow it under soon enough.
The sweet thing is, our three cats cuddled up to me all day and
night when I was stuck in the bed. Even our little scaredy-cat,
Toria. She has turned out to be my most affectionate little kitty.
Anyhow... Im going to quit complaining
right now. Im a very lucky woman, and a bout of the flu is
not the end of the world by any means. This is just a quick note
to let all of you well-wishers know that I am on the mend, and will
be back writing TONIS TAKE this weekend (if I dont RELAPSE!!!!)
Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart (and dont
forget to wash
FEELIN' UNDER THE WEATHER TODAY..
note from Toni's webmaster / husband.
Toni's feeling a bit 'under
the weather' today, and promises - as soon as the fever is down
a bit, she'll be bloggin' again. Have 'patients'. (...get it?)
PERFECT PLACE | KEELY SMITH | COOKING FOR DARYL
The last two days here in the Coachella Valley have been absolutely
glorious.... mild night time temperatures, and highs in the mid
80s. The skies are brilliant blue, the grass as green as emeralds,
and all the colors of the myriads of flowers vibrate with an almost
psychedelic intensity. This is why all of the snowbirds
(including us) head down here for the winter months.
When I see how absolutely AWFUL the weather has been in most of
the rest of the country, I almost feel guilty for my good fortune
to be living here at this time of year. However, this area is
not always paradise. Summers here reach 120 degrees during the
day, and the 90s at night. The heat is oppressive and almost predatory.
You lie in your bed at night, praying the air conditioning doesnt
break down. The heat outside is like a beast trying to break in
and attack you. Swimming pools, normally a refreshing, cooling splash,
are so hot you can almost boil an egg in them. Ive been told
that some of the wealthier residents down here have been known to
truck in huge blocks of ice to dump in their pools to make the water
tolerable for swimming.
Also, if I drive just a few miles north of our house, I can actually
SEE the famous San
Andreas Fault, innocently meandering along the mountains. One
of these days, it is going to make a huge, catastrophic move as
the tectonic plates realign themselves, and we will experience THE
BIG ONE! It will look like Katrina around here.... only not as wet.
I sometimes lie in bed at night and think about what Id do
if THE BIG ONE hit right at that moment. Scary. It could happen
right now, or in thirty years, but it is going to happen.
I ventured out for another concert this past week.... this time on
Valentines Day. No, Daryl did not go with me. On this occasion
I went with my friend, Carole, and her Uncle Dick and Aunt Polly to
see the legendary pop/jazz singer, Keely
Smith, at the beautiful McCallum
Theatre in Palm Desert. Dick and Polly have been fans of Keelys
since the 1960s, when she regularly performed in Las Vegas with her
late husband, Louis
Prima, as part of what I call the Greatest Lounge Act in
the History of Las Vegas: Louie Prima and Keely Smith with Sam
Butera and the Witnesses. This concert was my and Caroles treat
for Dick and Polly, who flew down from northern Nevada to attend.
Keely has a voice as sinuous and smooth as fine silk. Her vibrato,
and the timbre of her voice, remind me of kd
langs, and I often wonder if kd realizes how similar their
Louis Prima was a wild and crazy Sicilian band leader, who jumped
around the stage, whirled like a dervish throughout the show, sang
with intense gusto, and punctuated the entire routine with Italian
gestures, words and phrases that were sometimes translatable, and
sometimes SHOULDNT be translated. Keely, who is part Cherokee
Indian (as I am, on my mothers side) would stand there during
the entire show like an island of serenity and calm in the midst of
Louis hurricane, never cracking even the tiniest smile, no matter
how hard Louis and the band would try to make her laugh. The entire
room was rocking, but Keely always stayed cool, and sang like an angel.
It was hystericlly funny, and musically fabulous.
We had great seats for Keelys show, which thrilled Uncle Dick
(a retired LA motorcyle cop) and Aunt Polly no end. We were three
rows back, right in the center. By the way, Daryl and I are very fortunate
that we are usually able to get very good concert seats through the
entertainment offices of the venues we attend, but we ALWAYS pay full
price for the tickets. Tickets for Gordon Lightfoots show cost
us $60 apiece, and $95 each for Keelys show. I think there is
sometimes a misconception that we get freebies because
of our celebrity. That is not the way it works.
Keely was backed by an orchestra of some of the finest musicians in
the LA area, including the great sax player,
Pete Christlieb. What a joy it was to hear them play. Keely, who
confessed onstage to being 79 years old next month, still has that
pure and unique voice. She IS rather a wild card on stage, however.
You never know what Keely is going to say, and that is part of the
fun of being at one of her concerts. But when she sings those lovely
ballads, like her 1960s hit I WISH YOU LOVE, her voice
sounds just as fresh and young as it did when she was in her 20s.
Keely lives in the Palm Desert area, so the audience was full of friends
and local celebrities like singers, Jack
Jones and Jerry
Vale, and comedienne, Kaye
Ballard. She introduced all the celebrities in the audience, including
her show, and I must say I felt a little uncomfortable, since I was
positive at least a few people in the audience were saying to themselves,
Its Valentines Day. Where is the Captain? Isnt this
their anniversary? But since I couldnt explain that Daryl
was happily at home, doing
what Daryl does, I just had to let it slide. Most of you know
that our anniversary is actually on Veterans Day (November 11th)
anyway. And I have also told you that Daryl and I are not particularly
interested in special days. Everyday is Valentines
Day to us! He did give me a lovely bouquet
of red and pink roses this year, though. Were both getting
a bit sentimental in our old age!
a few of you have written to ask for more recipes. I am NOT
Ray, but I do have a couple of things I make for Daryl that
meet his healthy diet criteria. One of his favorite
dinners is Pan-Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa and Tabbouleh with
Snow Peas and Red Peppers. By the way, if you cant find fresh
mangos in your market, pineapple makes a pretty good substitute
for the mangos. You can make the Tabbouleh (sometimes spelled tabouli)
ahead of time. It actually tastes even better once the flavors have
had a chance to blend in the fridge. Also....be aware that you have
to combine the bulgar and the boiling water, and wait 40 minutes
for the water to be absorbed before finishing preparation of the
CAPTAIN'S SALMON FEAST
TABBOULEH WITH SNOW PEAS AND RED BELL PEPPER
1 and 1/2 cups uncooked bulgar (cracked wheat)
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water (+ a couple of extra tablespoons)
1 cup chopped English cucumber (the ones in shrink wrap that
are seedless and dont need to be peeled)
1/2 cup diagonally sliced snow peas
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup (or more to taste) lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
2 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
Combine bulgar and boiling water in a large bowl. Stir well.
Let stand 40 minutes or until water is absorbed. Add remaining
ingredients. Toss well. Cover and chill. Serves 8.
2 and 1/2 cups chopped, peeled mango (about 2 mangos)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (more or
less, according to your heat tolerance)
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well. Cover and
chill at least one hour. Serves 8.
PAN ROASTED SALMON
4 salmon filets, about 6 ounces each
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse salmon filets and pat dry with paper towel. Brush filets
with olive oil. Pour olive oil into a WIDE cast iron (or other
oven-safe) skillet just to coat the bottom. Place skillet over
Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper (or commerically prepared
dry rub made for fish). Place filets in the skillet skin side
UP and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the filets over and cook one
Place skillet in the oven and cook 8 (or more) minutes or so
until the filets are just translucent in the middle. My fish
cooking rule is TEN MINUTES TO ONE INCH OF THICKNESS. I dont
like gelatinous surprises when I cut into my salmon,
so I cook it just over medium. (When I think its
done, I make a discreet poke in the center with a slender knife
and take a look).
Remove from the oven and serve with the mango salsa and tabbouleh.
Hope you enjoy what I like to call THE CAPTAINS SALMON FEAST.
Until next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
VICTOR/VICTORIA - PART THREE
[ go to - part ONE
/ part TWO ]
Almost eight years after my tour with VICTOR/VICTORIA ended, I still
have dreams about it. I had one last night. I found myself in a rehearsal
hall, and I realized that I was supposed to perform in VICTOR/VICTORIA
again that night. I went into a total panic...I couldnt remember
my lines, the songs, or the dances....expecially the dances. I woke
up shaken and anxious but when I awakened and looked over at Daryl
sleeping beside me, I realized it was only a dream.
I probably had that V/V dream last night because I knew I was going
to write about the tour today. Why in the world does she have
such strong negative feelings about the V/V experience? you
are probably asking yourself. I dont think I can really explain
it, but I will try.
None of this was the fault of anyone connected with the first national
tour of VICTOR/VICTORIA.
The cast and crew, the director, the choreographer, the production
company.... all were wonderful and patient with me. This was all the
result of my own stubborness.... not giving up my dream
of doing the part of Victoria, even though every instinct I had was
telling me NOT to do the tour. The warning signs were everywhere.
And because I plowed ahead anyway, as I started falling apart
emotionally, I caused a lot of stress and anxiety for other people,
and that was wrong.
Heres what happened as best I can explain it.
In August of 1998, the day finally arrived for me to leave for New
York to begin rehearsals. Becky, our Personal Assistant, and I had
made plans to meet in Dallas and continue on to New York. Daryl headed
south to Las Vegas, where we had purchased a small home, and Jennifer
moved into our northern Nevada house to care for our pets until the
tour was over. My whole life was being turned upside down because
of decisions I had made. I missed Daryl the minute I said goodbye
to him. I got on the plane with the usual blue feeling
in the pit of my stomach I get everytime I go out on the road. But
I tried to look ahead to the challenges and the excitement of what
I was about to undertake.
Rehearsals took place in New York City during August, 1998.... a full
month of blocking and rehearsing scenes, trying to make it through
the dance numbers without lookng like a total klutz, working with
the music director on my vocal solos and duets, having costume fittings,
doing interviews, getting to know the cast and crew, trying to get
enough sleep at night, eat right, and get enough exercise. I was so
busy every day, I was able to stay focused on the task at hand, and
not think about the next 40 weeks I would be spending away from home.
Daryl flew out to New York twice while I was in rehearsals. I was
so relieved to have him there, but found myself torn between wanting
to spend time with him, and the demands of what I was undertaking.
Ive just re-read what I have written so far, and it sounds like
I am just a whining wimp! So many people would kill to have had my
opportunity, and they would have made the most of it and never looked
back. But here is the thing I didnt know about myself..... I
am not emotionally cut out to be away from home and the people I love.
Maybe its a Taurus
thing. I truly didnt realize this about myself until I got out
there, and then it was too late.
Still, I enjoyed rehearsals, and I loved the cast and crew. They were
brilliant and hard-working and grateful for the opportunity to earn
their living doing the thing they loved most. They were dear people,
and I remember them all with much fondness.
Finally the New York rehearsals drew to an end. We packed up the show,
and headed to Reno for our final technical rehearsals. Now you would
think that tech-ing in Reno would be great for me.... Id be
home for a week before the actual tour began. But it didnt work
out that way. My home was no longer my own. Our friend, Jennifer,
was living there, caring for our pets, and I would never dream of
asking her to move out for a week, so Daryl and I decided to stay
in the guest room in the barn, a second building on our
property that housed Daryls office/studio, a guest suite,
a garage and storage. Looking back, this was probably not a good decision.
I felt like an outsider in my own home. My beloved Taurus routine
was destroyed..again, by my own decision.
During tech rehearsals, the cast and crew block and rehearse all day
long, and perform the show for a paying audience at night. The Pioneer
Theatre was very familiar to me. I had performed there several times
over the years, either solo or with Daryl, in benefits for the Reno
Philharmonic or the Nevada Opera. It was about a 30 minute drive from
our home in the Washoe Valley area south of town.
Those of you who have seen VICTOR/VICTORIA onstage know what a demanding
role Victoria is. She is onstage from five minutes after the curtain
goes up, until the end, with only one break, which occurs during a
solo by the male lead. There are something like eleven songs or dance
numbers, and equally as many costume changes, quite a few of them
needing to be completed in seconds before you are back on stage. And
if you remember the set, it is a two-story set, with the characters
constantly running up and down the stairs. It is a very physically
and vocally demanding show.
And, for me, as the star of the show, there were promotional
demands as well..... interviews, photo sessions, etc...all having
to be squeezed in during rehearsals and performances. It is part of
the job of the person whose name is above the title to do everything
possible to promote and advertise the show. There are barely enough
hours in the day, but it must be done..and you still have to save
SOMETHING for performances.
I always felt that my first repsonsibility was to the people who paid
good money to see the show. They should see the best performance possible
from me. Often it would seem impossible to do all the promotion I
had to do, and give the audience the best performance I possibly could....
but I had to do both.
Tech rehearsal is truly the most difficult time of the tour, and we
were all looking forward to beginning the actual tour itself. Finally
we packed up the show once again and headed to Portland for Week
One of the First National Tour of Victor/Victoria. I said goodbye
to Daryl, and he headed to our house in Vegas. Goodbye, too, to dear
Jennifer, our dogs Bodie and Adelaide, and the cats.
Portland was beautiful that September of 1998...sunny and warm. Becky
and I stayed in a lovely hotel down by the river. The show went well,
and we had some nice reviews. I was finally catching up on some restorative
sleep after the stressful, demanding tech rehearsals. My voice was
holding up just fine. Still, I began the routine that I knew was necessary
to keep myself in good performing shape for the rest of the tour.
I made sure to get at least eight hours of sleep a night... nine hours
were even better, if possible. I rarely spoke during the day (except
for the 2 or 3 times a day I talked to Daryl on the phone), saving
my voice for the show.
I set aside part of every day for a power walk and strength training.
Most of the time Becky and I would have an early dinner... around
3:30PM...so I would have plenty of time to digest the food before
the show. We rarely spoke much during dinner... I had to protect my
voice. And we were ALWAYS looking for non-smoking restaurants, since
I am terribly allergic to smoke. That was really difficult in some
cities... such as Louisville, KY, where the non smoking
area was a couple of tables right next to the smokers! Many times
I just gave up and ordered room service.
Im also allergic to theatre dust and mold, and since some of
the theatres we performed in were built during the Vaudville era,
there was a LOT of ancient dust and mold backstage. Sometime I even
wore a mask during the first run-through just to protect my voice.
- Here is what a typical weeks schedule
was like for me as the star of VICTOR/VICTORIA:
- MONDAY....Pack up everything and travel most of the day to
next city. Usually we flew..although the crew would occasionally drive
through the night in order to prepare the stage and get the set put
together before we arrived.
- TUESDAY...In the early afternoon, go to the theatre to do television
interviews with local stations.. usually two or three (full makeup
and hair!!!!). Run through the show to check the blocking on the new
stage. Occasionally rehearse the songs with the local musicians who
join the band in each city. Rest (if there is time). Opening Night
- WEDNESDAY...Second performance.
- THURSDAY....Do five or six phone interviews to promote show
for next city (all the while speaking softly and trying to preseve
the voice!). Third performance.
- FRIDAY...Fourth performance
- SATURDAY...Fifth and Sixth performances.... a matinee,
usually about 3PM, and an evening show around 8PM.
- SUNDAY...Seventh and Eighth performances....same as
above. Then pack up everything for early pickup in the morning.
- MONDAY...Start all over again.
As you can tell, there was absolutely no time for leisure. I was unable
to join the rest of the cast members for nights on the town
because I had to protect my voice. I remember once, as the tour was
winding down, when we were playing in Memphis, Daryl flew out to be
with me and to check out the famous blues clubs on Beale Street. Come
with us, Miss T! the dear kids in the cast would say.... but,
of course, I couldnt. Have you ever heard of a blues club that
wasnt smoke filled??? On that occasion, Becky, Daryl and the
cast made a night of it on Beale Street (Daryl actually played boogie
piano in one of the clubs), while I was stuck in my hotel room, protecting
The truth is, with a part as large as Victoria, and your name above
the title, you simply have to live like a nun. No partying,
no talking. Now, if you have a smaller part.... say you are a chorus
member, or you dont have to sing, you can get away with it.
But with all of this I have been telling you, I still havent
gotten to WHAT happened to me out there that was so traumatizing,
but what I have written will help explain a lot about WHY.
Im going to have to finish the V/V story later. Ive relived
enough of it for now. Perhaps by my telling you all of this, you might
be more careful when you make a career decision..... maybe you will
listen to the faint warning voices inside of you. My problem with
the entire tour wasnt that I couldnt do the part, or didnt
love doing it. The time onstage was the absolute BEST time of the
whole experience. It was the time in between performances that did
me in...and all because I didnt know myself as well as I thought
I know for certain that if I had been doing the show in one location...
not having to be out on the road the entire time... I would have been
just fine. I would have had Daryl and the pets with me at all times,
and I could have set up my little nest and my Taurus
routine. However, coulda, woulda, shoulda is not
the way life works.
C&T IN THE NEAR FUTURE
On a happier note, we are putting together a deal for sale and distribution
of several C&T items for this year. I will let you know more details
once we get the legal business taken care of. But here is what we
hope to make available to you by this fall...
1. THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS
2. THE 1976 CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL on DVD
3. OUR CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE SPECIALS FOR ABC: the HAWAII SPECIAL,
the NEW ORLEANS SPECIAL, and the SONGBOOK SPECIAL on DVD. They will
be offered individually, and in a boxed set.
Daryl and I have been talking quite a bit about a C&T concert
in fall of 2008. I would say we are 90% certain to do it. The bulk
of the preparation would fall on Daryls and Beckys shoulders.
All I have to do is choose the songs, relearn quite a few of them,
and put them in show order.
We will probably do a series of concerts in a two-week period....
one per night.... and we are thinking that Las Vegas would be our
best location. There are a couple of venues Becky is looking into.
Now... DONT hold me to the two-week schedule. There
are many things to consider.... financial and technical. But we will
let you know in plenty of time to make plans.
After seeing Gordon Lightfoot in concert last week, I realized even
more that, in some ways, like Gordon, we are the keepers of peoples
memories, and I think we have a responsibility to our fans in that
respect. You know me.... I wont be going out on a tour again,
but I could handle a sit-down in one place... as long
as we can find a rental house that will allow our dogs to join us!
The cats would be fine at home with a sitter.
Just wanted to let you know our thoughts. Ill take up Part Four
of the VICTOR/VICTORIA story at another time. Until next week, Keep
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. -
BEAUTIFUL GORDON LIGHTFOOT
Last night Daryl and I attended a concert at a local Indian casino,
not far from our home in La Quinta. This is a rare event for both
of us for more than one reason. We are day people....
usually up by 5:30AM, and lights out by 10PM. Also, Daryl is really
uncomfortable in crowds. Hes a very quiet and private person,
and crowds make him quite anxious. And neither of us enjoys going
to casinos. We lived in Nevada for over 20 years, and rarely went
to one. Casinos are loud, hectic, smoky places, and we prefer a more
serene atmosphere on our rare nights on the town
(God, we sound totally DULL).
What would make us dress up, get in the car, and try to find our way
on dark and pot-holed roads to a casino we have never been to? Gordon
Those of you who read TONIS TAKE regularly may remember the
recent column I wrote about Gordon... how he had invited us to his
beautiful home in Toronto after our concert at the Canadian National
Exposition in Toronto in 1978 (or 1979).... our experience as part
of the audience for his debut in Las Vegas in the late 70s... and
how we used to perform his songs at
The Smokehouse in Encino, CA in the early 70s, long
before we ever even dreamed of having a hit record.
Not a night went by at The Smokehouse that I didnt sing BEAUTIFUL
and IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND LOVE, but BEAUTIFUL was my favorite,
because it was a love song in the deepest sense of the word, and expressed
my growing love for Daryl.
- At times I just
How you could be anything but beautiful
I think that I was made for you
And you were made for me
And I know that I will never change
Cause weve been friends through rain or shine
For such a long, long time
Those words by the songwriter and poet, Gordon Lightfoot, were favorites
of mine back in those days. And the music was so lovely... gentle,
honest, and true. It has probably been thirty years since I last sang
BEAUTIFUL, but I wanted to hear Gordon sing it, in person, at least
one more time.
The Entertainment Office at the casino arranged front row seats for
us. The show room was very large.... it probably seated about 3000
people, and by the time the show began, most of the seats were full.
Gordon is Canadian, and many, many Canadian Snowbirds
come down to the Palm Springs area to spend the winter. I would say
that quite a few of them were in the audience last night.
Gordon almost died of an abdominal
aneurism a few years ago. Daryl and I first heard of it when we
were in Vancouver BC shooting a Kohls Christmas commercial.
I picked up a local paper, and there was an article about Gordons
illness, and how he was struggling to recover so he could sing and
write again. My heart just sank at the thought of possibly losing
this wonderful songwriter, whose music was so much a part of my past.
Thank God he made it through, and began writing, and even touring
again. Last nights concert was his eighth concert in nine days...
a tough schedule for even a very healthy person.
Within minutes of the scheduled start of the concert, Gordon and his
band, without fuss or fanfare, took the stage. He was backed by a
keyboardist, a drummer, a bass player and a lead guitarist, all of
whom were superb musicians.
Gordon was so very thin and frail in appearance...certainly not the
robust and strong young man I remember. The familiar baritone was
a shadow of its former self... possibly because this was his eighth
concert in a row, but the heart and soul of the man were still there
in full force. He sang for 90 minutes.... songs I knew and loved,
and wonderful songs that were unfamiliar (to me), but bearing his
unmistakeable stamp. He varied the mood and the tempos, and carried
the audience along with him as he sang and talked.
Often, during the show, flashes of the fiesty and mischievious Gordon
I remembered from the past would emerge, mostly as he talked about
how the ideas for songs came to him. Once, he joked, I
was playing golf with my ex brother-in-law, and when we got to the
first tee, he pronounced to the rest of us, Either step up or
step back, and that gave me an idea for this song, a bluesy,
mid-tempo number which he proceeded to sing with humor and gusto.
But it was when he strummed the opening chords to BEAUTIFUL that I
found myself swept back to those early days in The Smokehouse with
Daryl. And as he sang the well-loved words, I was absolutely struck
through the heart, and I found myself in tears. I glanced over at
Daryl, and as our eyes met, I could see that he was right there with
me, remembering. So much time has passed so quickly, but here we are,
and the words mean even more to us now.
- And I must say that it means so much
Just to be the one whos telling you
Im telling you
That youre beautiful
Before the show, a young woman took a seat next to us, and I thought
she was probably a wife or girlfriend of a band member, because the
front-row seats were very difficult to come by. As we waited, we chatted
a little bit...she did not recognize us.... and she told me that she
had gotten the ticket by going to the casino website. She said it
is not that difficult to get single tickets at the last minute, and
that you often end up with terrific seats, as she did.
Her name was Gwen, and she told us that she had seen her first Gordon
Lightfoot concert when she was ten years old, and had been a fan ever
since. In fact, she had seen him in concert three times in the past
year! But what was most wonderful to me about her story, was that
she was a Marine Biologist... a professor at Cal State Long Beach...
and that she had been inspired to become one because of a song Gordon
wrote about the sea and the creatures in it. She heard him sing it
when she was a little girl, and it changed the course of her life.
After the show we went backstage to thank Gordon, but it was incredibly
crowded in the Green Room.... at least fifty people were in there,
waiting to shake his hand, or have their photo taken with him. There
were the head honchos of the casino, two Canadian Senators and their
wives (very charming people), and various other Lightfoot fans. I
had told Gwen that I would tell Gordon about how much his song had
meant to her, and how it changed her life, but it was a zoo backstage,
and I could see he was tired, so I just gave him a quick hug and Daryl
and I thanked him. I dont think we really needed many words
to express how we felt about him. Im sure he could tell.
His show was simple, quiet and intimate, even in that huge room. Just
the man and his incredible songs. It was all that was needed. Gordon,
may you live, sing and write for many, many more years. We are forever
grateful to you. GORDON
in 1974 / GORDON
By the way, I did not ask permission to reprint part of Gordons
lyrics for BEAUTIFUL in this weeks column, but I dont
think he would mind.
I hope the rest of you enjoy this Superbowl Sunday. Until next week,
Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. -
THOUGHTS ON JENNIFER HUDSON | SINGING WITH ELLA
I happened to catch part of an interview Diane
Sawyer did with Jennifer
Hudson, the morning Jennifer received her Oscar nomination
for Best Supporting Actress for DREAMGIRLS.
As I watched her struggle to express her feelings about what was happening
to her, I noted that she appeared very shaken, and it seemed to me
that she was struggling to retain her composure and was holding back
tears, even in the midst of her joy and excitement. Wow. Ive
My heart instantly went out to this talented young woman, whose career
is just beginning. She looked like she had just been blasted off on
a sky rocket, and was holding on for dear life. She said to Diane,
I just need some time to myself for a while. Yes, you
do, Jennifer. Shoo everybody out of the room, turn off your cell phone,
and take that time just for yourself. Everything has happened to her
so very fast, and I think I know pretty well what she is feeling.
I just wish there were some way I could give her a little bit of advice,
based on my own experience. Perhaps it would help her to avoid some
of the inevitable pitfalls and heartaches that are part of every show
business career, especially one moving as fast as hers is. I am also
bearing in mind that she is very young.... much younger than I was
when my career with Daryl took off. Also, she is out there all alone.
Daryl and I have always had each other for comfort and support.
We were in our thirties when our career took off, and were more mature
and a little more able to cope with all the things that happen when
success comes very quickly (although our success was definitely NOT
overnight... Daryl and I toiled away in LA clubs for a long time before
we were discovered). Still, we made mistakes along the
way... not dire ones, thank goodness.... but we could have handled
some things better than we did.
If I could talk to Jennifer, one on one, Id say to her, Jennifer,
gather and keep around you friends and family who knew you before
all of this happened.... people you love and trust. Be cautious of
new friends, who may be there simply because of your celebrity.
They will be gone quickly if your career should start to falter.
Be careful of hiring friends or family to be part of your working
staff. You probably feel like you want to share the wealth and celebrity
with them. But no matter how much you love and trust them, and how
much they love you, things can get very sticky down the road, and
you may have to face some agonizing choices at some point. Try your
very best to keep business and family/friends completely separate.
Hire an attorney well-versed in show business. You will need
one who is on your side, to protect your interests. They are usually
worth the exorbitant fees they charge, and can help to keep you from
getting into unexpected and difficult legal situations that are out
there like mine fields, waiting for you to step on one and blow yourself
Hire a Personal Assistant to organize your time, and take care
of all of the many things that you simply will not be able, or have
time, to do. Our PA is Becky Greenlaw, and she is priceless! We were
so lucky to have found her, and we are thankful every day to have
her on our side.
Trust your gut feelings!!!!! You will have all sorts of people
wanting pieces of you... especially agents and managers. They are
a necessary evil, as far as Im concerned. You need an agent
to sift through the many offers that are flooding in, and a manager
to guide you in your career choices. Of course.... and THIS is important....
you have to remember that managers and agents want to make as much
money off of you as they possibly can. They usually dont much
care about, or take into consideration, your emotional health and
physical well being... unless it affects the income you generate for
You may often find yourself exhausted, stressed beyond belief,
and needing time to yourself to gather your thoughts. Remember, agents
and managers dont have to DO the work they line up for you....
they just have to collect the money. The more you are out there working,
the better they like it. Trust your gut feelings, and dont ever
be afraid to say NO if something doesnt feel right.
Jennifer Hudson seems like a lovely person, genuine and honest. I
hope she has someone she can trust, someone who cares more about her
than the money she can generate, who will nurture her talent, and
guide her to a long, rewarding career.
Speaking of lovely and genuine people, I can think of no other person
I loved and admired more in this business than the legendary Ella
Fitzgerald. She was kind, thoughtful, and generous,
and absolutely warm and welcoming to me whenever our paths crossed.
She sang with such honesty and sweetness, and she could swing with
the best of them!
In 1980, when Daryl and I were planning our SONGBOOK SPECIAL, we made
the decision to make the show all music.....no comedy sketches. Daryl
and I each chose a musical guest for the show. I chose Ella, and Daryl
chose legendary blues guitarist and singer,
BB King. It would be BBs first appearance on a network television
show, and you know how many times he has been on television since
Campbell, was the networks choice as a third musical guest
on the special. Daryl and Glen had something in common... they were
both members of the Beach
Boys band, although not at the same time. BB Kings guest
appearance with Daryl is a story in itself, but for now, Im
going to talk about dear, dear Ella.
I had loved and admired Ella Fitzgerald from the time my father introduced
me to her recordings when I was a young girl. I used to stand in front
of the mirror, holding some object as a pretend microphone, and sing
along with her recordings. I think every little girl has probably
done that with a favorite singer. When I realized that I was actually
going to be singing with Ella on our special, I was thrilled beyond
Our music director created a wonderful, complicated arrangement of
Torch Songs for us to sing together. Ella and I worked
on it for a very long time, trying to get it just right. She was so
modest and unassuming. During rehearsals she would say to me, Am
I singing it the way you want? I almost fell over when she asked
me that. She was the legendary ELLA!!! I hugged her and told her she
was absolute perfection in every way.
Well, she and I pulled it off brilliantly, I thought. We had so much
fun together, loving and sharing the music, blending our voices on
all of those great songs. I was in Music Heaven. There is a
video of that duet floating around on You Tube, and when I watched
it again after so many years, I was instantly transported back to
the transcendent joy of making music with Ella.
A couple of years later, I was set to do my very first Big Band concert
in Las Vegas, opening for someone.... I dont remember who. I
was SO nervous. I was doing this without Daryl, since I was singing
the standard repertoire... songs of the 30s and 40s, and Daryl is
not comfortable in that genre. Anyhow, I walked into my dressing room
on opening night to find a beautiful floral arrangement on the makeup
table. The card read, Good luck on your opening night...Lots
of Love...your Big Sister, Ella. I have no idea how she found
out I was even going to be there, since I hadnt seen her in
quite a while. But I will never forget that gesture from her, and
I will never forget the joy she brought to me and the rest of the
world. She was one of a kind, and I doubt well see her like
Thats it for now. Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside
Your Heart. -
QUICK TAKE . .
Daryl and I just returned last night from four days in Arizona,
meeting with the people who are going to build our new home. As
you probably know, as soon as you return from an out of town trip,
there are tons of things to do to catch up. I wont
be able to write a column this week, but I promise I will get it
done by this coming Sunday.
Once again, thank you for all of your song suggestions for a possible
Captain and Tennille concert in 2008. Your requests have been absolutely
fascinating! Im going have to learn some of these songs all
over again. I must say that if we did all of your requests, wed
be up there for HOURS!
Just so you know, we have decided to limit the concert to only songs
we have recorded or performed in concert over the years. That means
I wont be doing any of the standards Ive
been singing in my solo concerts. That will have to wait for another
day. I may write a new song for the concert. Ill just have
to see if my songwriting line to the spheres opens up
By the way, Daryl has put up a new photo of us, taken at neighbors
home during the Christmas holidays. You can find it by clicking
on the MEMORIES icon. I have to dash for now. I have a million things to do, as my
sister, Louisa, loves to say. Until Sunday, Keep A Song of Joy
Inside Your Heart. -
GORDON LIGHTFOOT | CIRCLES
First of all, thanks to all of you who have written so far about which
C&T songs you would like to hear us do in concert. It has been
absolutely fascinating to both of us to read your comments and preferences.
I was particularly heartened to find that so many of you would like
to us to do songs I wrote, such as LOVE ME LIKE A BABY, HONEY COME
LOVE ME, DEEP IN THE DARK, CIRCLES, BUTTERSCOTCH CASTLE, BABY YOUVE
STILL GOT IT, KEEPING OUR LOVE WARM, and others. I have been passing
your requests on to Daryl, who is keeping a list of your most requested
songs. And, of course, we would definitely do the hits... LOVE WILL
KEEP US TOGETHER, SHOP AROUND, MUSKRAT LOVE, DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE
We know that most audiences ALWAYS come to hear the artists
hits. Which reminds me of the time Daryl and I went to see Gordon
Lightfoot in concert in Las Vegas, of all places. Gordon,
a Canadian, is a brilliant songwriter, and Daryl and I used to perform
some of his songs when we worked at The Smokehouse in Encino, California
in 1972-74. Some of my favorite songs by Gordon are IF YOU COULD READ
MY MIND, BEAUTIFUL, and THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE. Gordon
also has a very distinctive voice, rather plaintive and melancholy.
It was VERY unusual to have a performer of Gordons hipness
perform in Las Vegas at that time... it was in the late 1970s, I believe.
Any venue in Vegas was considered plastic and square
for pop artists then, so most of us avoided it like the plague, trying
to stay away from the stigma of Vegas. It actually seems
stupid to me now that we even concerned ourselves with stuff like
that. However, Daryl and I were VERY surprised to learn that Gordon
would be performing there. But we really wanted to see him in concert,
so we booked our reservations, and were there in the audience along
with all of his fans who had made the trek to Vegas to see him.
I dont know how many of you have ever seen a classic Las Vegas
show, but at that time the shows were very UP UP UP and moved right
along at a fast and furious clip, stopping only now and then for the
accasional ballad. The audiences attention was never allowed
to waiver for one second!
After we waited almost 45 minutes for Gordons show to begin
(shows are NEVER late in Vegas... they want YOU out in the casino,
gambling your money away for as long as possible), the showroom lights
dimmed, and the announcer said, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Gordon
Lightfoot. The audience responded with thunderous applause and
excited anticipation. Gordon slowly strolled onstage, very casually
dressed in jeans (absolutely NO Vegas glitz or glam), his eyes on
his band, not even glancing at the audience. When he reached center
stage, he TURNED HIS BACK TO THE AUDIENCE AND TUNED HIS GUITAR for
what seemed like an eternity! All of us in the audience maintained
a respectful but uncomfortable silence while the tuning was going
Finally, he turned to the audience, and started playing the intro
to a tune none of us had ever heard before. It turned out to be from
his just-released album, and, of course it was a very good song...
as all of his are.... but it was unfamiliar to most of us. After the
song was over, the audience applauded politely, expecting Gordon to
then break into one of his hits. Instead, he played seven brand new
songs from the new album, and he rarely spoke to the audience at all.
By this time, people were grumbling and muttering to themselves, and
some were leaving.
In my case, I had been wondering how Gordon would approach his Vegas
concert, and if he would make any changes because of the venue. Well,
he didnt. He played it just like any of his concerts. And as
a consequence, he lost his Vegas audience. He finally played several
of his hits, but by that time all was lost. He never played Vegas
again, and I dont blame him. It wasnt his style, and he
didnt NEED to play there. His concerts were always packed with
music lovers... not necessarily gamblers!
Today it seems that EVERYBODY plays Vegas. The stigma
is pretty much gone. It is just a convenient place for performing
artists to reach a wide audience of people from all around the country
and the world.
LATER IN THE DAY... .Daryl and I just finished signing 350 HUGE art
prints (in which our faces are featured) by Nevada Artist, Steven
Saylor. He drove all the way down here from northern Nevada and
told us it would only take an hour to sign them. Well, bless his heart,
it took THREE hours, since Daryl and I both signed them, and, we had
lots to talk about with Steven as we signed. He just left to drive
the ten hours back to northern Nevada, and I am now WAY behind on
my blog, so Ill have to cut it short for today.
I have one more story about Gordon Lightfoot. In the late 70s, Daryl
and I performed in Toronto at the Canadian National Exposition or
CNE as it is called. We didnt know it at the time,
but Gordon lived in Toronto. He sent word that he would like for us
and our band to visit him at his home in the Toronto suburbs while
we were there.
His home turned out to be this magnificent English Tudor-style mansion
in a very posh suburb of Toronto. It was set into a wooded area, and
was just a beautiful structure. The interior was even more beautiful.
I remember his office was done in rich, dark, mahagony
panelling. I thought it looked like the kind of home the British Prime
Minister might live in.... stately and elegant.
Gordon, of course, was a free spirit, and seemed to me to be kind
of out of place in such a formal setting. However, he seemed to be
very proud of the home, and enjoyed showing us around.
We arrived on a late summer afternoon. Shortly after the sun went
down, he called us all into the huge kitchen to see something special.
As we stood there, he opened the door to the backyard, and at least
12 raccoons walked right in and made themselves at home. I was totally
flabbergasted! They roamed around the kitchen, getting into this cabinet
or that cookie jar, and Gordon seemed to enjoy the whole thing. I
guess he let them into the house every night!
A couple of years ago, Daryl and I were in Vancouver, shooting a Kohls
commercial, when I read in the local paper that Gordon was terribly
ill. He had been stricken by a very unusual stroke that occurred in
his digestive tract, I believe. I havent heard anything since,
but Ive thought of him often since then. I hope he is back,
writing and singing his wonderful songs by now.
One of the writers to TONIS TAKE asked about the poem that inspired
my song, CIRCLES. I have to take you back to when I was in
junior high school. I had the most WONDERFUL English teacher then.
Her name was Mary Persons, and she was filled with the love of poetry
and literature, and passed on that passion for the written word to
her students.... especially me. Through her I learned the poetry of
Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Keats, Byron,
and all the greats. Because of her I committed hundreds of poems to
memory... some of them I can recite to this day.
One day she read to us a poem by an American poet named
Edwin Markham. It was called OUTWITTED.... a short poem whose
wise words struck a chord in a fifteen year old girl.
OUTWITTED by Edwin Markham
- - -
He drew a circle that shut me out
A thing to flout
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in.
Flash forward to around 1975, when I wrote CIRCLES. I was thinking
back to when I first met Daryl. It was the summer of 1971 in San
Francisco. When I first saw him, I knew he would be an important
part of my life... I just didnt know exactly how.
As I became more and more certain that Daryl and I should be together,
he was a little more reserved. I later found out that his former
girlfriend had committed suicide recently. Even though she and he
were no longer together before she died, it hit him very hard, and
he wasnt sure he wanted to become involved in a new relationship.
I, however, knew that I was exactly what he needed! And I remembered
the Edwin Markham poem. So, based on his poem, I wrote these words...."Oh,
Love and I, we knew just where to begin. Yes, Love and I, we started
his circle to spin, oh Love and I...we drew a circle, a beautiful
circle, a wonderful circle that took him in. And that
is how I came to write CIRCLES.
Well...I must close for now. Daryl and I are going to Arizona next
week to meet with the people who will be building our new home,
so I may be late with TONIS TAKE next week. Dont give
up, though. Ill get to it as soon as I can. Until then, Keep
A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart. -
THE PERCEPTION OF BEAUTY | C&T IN 2008?
Many of you have written to TONIS TAKE over the past few months
saying how great you think we look. Like most people, I like to hear
compliments, and my mother taught me to always say a simple thank
you when I receive them.... none of those phrases like, Oh,
thanks, but my hair looks awful today, or Im glad
you like our house, but it is really a mess today, or I
really didnt sing very well, but thanks anyway. Just Thank
you, is all you need to say.
However, the comments about how we look got me thinking about physical
beauty.... or actually, the PERCEPTION of physical beauty, and how
much we seem to want our idols to remain physically beautiful.
That, of course, is impossible as we age. Wrinkles slowly appear,
tiny at first, and then relentlessly marching across our face, our
neck, our hands, carving frown lines and smile lines (hah!)
in every visible area. And gravity always eventually prevails, slowly
tugging skin and flesh down down down. It is disheartening, but inevitable.
I would ask you all to remember that I am sixty-six years old now.
And being this age would not be a problem for me if I did not have
a public image. I think some fans are always shocked when
they see a performer they havent seen in 30 years or so, and
are amazed to find out the stars have gotten old, just
like they have!
I have always felt that one of the responsibilities a performer has
to their fans is to look as good as they possibly can whenever they
make a public appearance. I have, however, been known to head to the
supermarket in sweats and a baseball cap, and wearing no makeup, HOPING
I dont run into anybody I know. And I am always reminding Daryl,
whenever we head out to a restaurant or to do some shopping, that
he needs to clean up bit (shaving
would be good), in case we are recognized. You never know when someone
will ask to take a photo of you, which will end up in their scrapbook
forever, or on the internet (THATS the Captain and Tennille???)
I can only assume that some of you are judging how great
we look from the photos on our website, since I doubt most of you
have actually seen us for several years. Those photos were taken a
couple of years ago by one of the finest photographers in Hollywood,
the legendary Harry
Langdon. Harry has been photgraphing us from the very beginning
of our career. He knows us well, and knows how to light us for the
best effect. Lighting can make you look really great, or really dreadful.
In fact, Harrys lighting is so good, very little retouching
is needed to smooth a wrinkle here and there, or soften circles under
the eyes. After all, you want your publicity photos to be as flatteering
as possible. However, those photos are not reality! Reality is what
you look like when you first get up in the morning, and get your first
glance at yourself in the mirror. Frightening.
I guess what I am trying to say is that those of us who are considered
stars or celebrities are not much different
from you. We just have better lighting! I really had to admire Jamie
Lee Curtis when she posed totally au naturalle... no makeup, no
special lighting, no retouching..... a few years ago for a magazine
story to let other women know that Hollywood images are a fantasy...
at least they are for the older women in show business.
After I got over my chubby pre teens, I was considered
fairly attractive by most people. Not a beauty by any means! That
crown belonged to my lovely younger sister, Jane. But I always had
a nice smile, and I was tall. I used to think that being tall was
a disadvantage, because all the popular girls were petite,
but my dad always told me to be proud of my height, and to stand up
as tall as I could. Many people over the years have told me how beautiful
they think I am, but the truth is, Im not beautiful
and never have been. And I am not just being modest here. I mean exactly
what I am saying. Any beauty people may see in me is a
perception, not a reality.
As I age, I more and more understand why actresses like Loretta
Young and Kim
Novak, and singer/actresses like Doris
Day, quietly removed themselves from public life as their beauty
faded. They didnt want to be compared with the images of themselves
at the very height of their beauty.
I do know, however, that I have something more important to our fans
than my physical looks.... and that is this voice I have been blessed
with. It is still in great shape, and I attribute that to the healthy
lifestyle Daryl and I have lived since weve been together. It
really pays off as you age.
Many people have also asked when we are going
to perform in public again. A couple of years ago my answer
might have been, Probably never. I guess I have been waiting
for some kind of sign as to what we should do next with
our musical talents. Most of you know that I absolutely HATE to tour,
so that kind of thing is off the table. However, in the last few months,
without talking to Daryl about it, I have been asking myself, If
we DID do a C&T concert, what would it be like? What songs would
we sing? How big would the band be, and who would be in it? Where
would we do it... IF we decided to do it?
The fact that those thoughts are even crossing my mind is kind of
a break-through for me. I finally mentioned it to Daryl to see what
his thoughts were. He didnt absolutely say no. Of course he
came up with all the potential problems... among other things, we
dont have a band anymore, and wed have to put one together
and rehearse several days to get ready.
But, honestly, Daryls main problem with performing again is
that, over the years, he has developed what is called a essential
tremor. It is not Parkinsons Disease, thank God,
Daryl's tremor HAS been diagnosed as PARKINSON'S
DISEASE. - - Read
and is not life-threatening in any way..... more of a nuisance, you
might say. But to Daryl, it is devastatingly embarassing, and the
more anxious he becomes about it, the worse it is. He is afraid people
will stare at his tremor while he is on stage instead of enjoying
the music. He is a very private man, and this is one of the main reasons
he is hesitant to do any public appearances.
Anyhow, if a C&T concert ever came to pass, we would probably
do it in one location.... a series of concerts... maybe a couple of
weeks. I am thinking about a concert of ALL Captain and Tennille songs...
the hits, of course, but also some of the lesser known tunes that
weve never done in concert. THAT would interest me.
IF we do it, Im thinking spring of 2008 (God, Ill be using
a walker by then!). If everything works out, 2007 is going to be filled
with promotion for the Christmas CD, the Captain and Tennille Christmas
Special DVD, and the DVD release of our three ABC Captain and Tennille
Specials (Hawaii, New Orleans, and the Songbook Special), which we
plan for this year. Id like to hear from all of you.... if you
were to attend a C&T concert, what songs would you like to hear?
Give us some suggestions, and well add them to a master list.
And now, as my sister, Louisa, likes to say, I have a million
things to do today, so Ill sign off for this week. I hope
your year is starting off beautifully, and that you are happy and
healthy. Until next week, Keep A Song of Joy Inside
Your Heart! -
31-January 3, 2007
IN LA QUINTA | "DENNY" | VICTOR/VICTORIA - PART TWO
It is a little after 7AM on New Years Eve, 2006. Daryl is doing
his morning meditation. I arose before Daryl, started the fire, and
prepared a cup of tea. I love the early mornings, especially here
in the desert. Everything seems fresh and new, and the day full of
possibilities. We are certainly so very lucky to be here in La Quinta
at this time of year.
For the last couple of days, as President Ford lay in repose at St.
Margarets Episcopal Church in Palm Desert not from here, the
desert he loved so much blessed his memory and his family with perfect
weather.... warm sunshine, bright blue skies, and an abundance of
My heart went out to Mrs. Ford as I saw her stricken face on television.
I cannot even allow myself to think what she must be feeling at this
time. I will never forget my first sight of her at the White House
in 1976.... a vision of grace and warmth in a yellow linen suit, a
welcoming smile on her lovely face. President Ford was a good and
kind man..a regular guy...who helped heal this nation during one of
its most troubling times. I hope Mrs. Ford and the rest of his family
can take comfort in how much his service meant to the American people
at a very troubling time in our history.
It is now January 3, 2007. As I drove home this afternoon after
having lunch and doing a bit of shopping with my sister, Melissa and
my niece, Cathryn, I watched a glorious full moon rise slowly and
majestically in the eastern sky, the tall date palms standing in graceful
silhouette before its light. During the holidays we were joined here
at the house by my sister, Louisa, and her husband, Bob, and.... in
the last couple of days.... by Melissa, and her husband, Andy and
their eleven year old daughter, Cathryn. We all had a wonderful time
together. We just dont see each other often enough. But now
all is quiet, and I can finally concentrate on my VERY late TONIS
A quick answer to a question from a recent writer to TONIS TAKE....
I did not write DENNYS SUCH A FLIRT about Beach Boy, Dennis
Wilson. I actually had Daryls youngest brother, Dennis,
in mind when I wrote it. DENNYS SUCH A FLIRT was one of the
songs I wrote in the 1980s for a collection of tunes with male names
in the title. It was just kind of an exercise to see what I could
come up with using that theme. Some other titles in that group of
songs are BOY CRAZY, DAVY I MISBEHAVE (I got the idea for that name
from my friend Lin Lopes former husband, Dodger second baseman,
Davy Lopes), and JOE DONT CRY. I pictured them being sung by
a girl group...not me, of course. But, as usual, I never
submitted them to any artists. Actually, DAVY I MISBEHAVE was a much
more mature, jazz-tinged song, and I REALLY like that one. Daryl and
I recorded it on our Australian album, MORE THAN DANCING. I think
some of the others, which we only did as demos, ended up on the album,
MORE THAN DANCING, MUCH MORE. Anyhow, I hope that answers the question
about my inspiration for DENNYS SUCH A FLIRT.
Many of you wrote, expressing your interest in my VICTOR/VICTORIA
story. I must tell you that I am finding it fairly hard to think back
on that time, although...of course..not ALL of it was traumatic. It
is just that I thought I knew myself well, and I found that I really
didnt at all. You should also know that I tend to almost completely
erase unpleasant things from my memory, so I may be fuzzy about exact
dates and times.
I believe I stopped telling you my VICTOR/VICTORIA-PART ONE story
at a point where I finally understood that, if I got the part, it
would involve a completely different commitment from me (and from
Daryl) than the one I originally had in mind. Remember, my first hope
was to replace Julie on Broadway when she left the show. Then Raquel
Welch was hired for the part, and the show closed on Broadway a few
weeks later. By then I had invested so much time (and money) in going
after the part, I felt like I just HAD to keep going. So I lowered
my sights a bit to the First National Tour, which I thought might
involve stays of two or three months in large cities. By the time
I realized what the tour would actually entail, I was in too deep
and had gone too far to stop myself. The rocket left the launch pad,
and I was on it.
When I finally got the word that the part was mine, I was thrilled...
after all, I had worked VERY hard to get it. But at the same time,
I became anxious and even a little scared. What had I gotten myself
(and Daryl) into? He and I began to make plans for how we would handle
the logistics of the tour. I can only say, thank God for Daryl. He
put up with so much to let me pursue this crazy dream.
Our dear friend and longtime pet sitter, Jennifer Dory-Pahl, offered
to move into our Washoe Valley home, and take care of our two dogs
and two cats. Jennifer, by the way, is the friend who told us about
the song, I WANT A HIPPOPOTAMUS FOR CHRISTMAS, which has turned out
to be a favorite from our Christmas CD.
Daryl had absolutely NO interest in taking care of the pets for a
year all by himself, so we bought a small house in Las Vegas (where
it doesnt SNOW) for Daryl to live in while I did the tour. The
plan was that he would fly out at least every two weeks to spend time
with me. Becky Greenlaw, our long time friend and Personal Assistant,
would travel with me on tour to help me cope with everything involved
in headlining a big show.
I busied myself memorizing the part and the songs, taking a few dance
classes to try to brush up on what little dance skills I had, and
trying to organize my mind around this new reality. Becky and I flew
to New York so I could have publicity photos done, and read with actors
and actresses auditioning for supporting parts. We also took a trip
to Seattle to do video promos. There were costume fittings and interviews,
contract negotiations, and, finally, preparations to go to New York
in August, 1998 for a month of rehearsals.
Everything was a blur of activity and excitement, but I began to have
trouble sleeping, and a feeling of dread was starting to insinuate
itself into my heart. Just before I left for rehearsals in New York,
my sister, Jane, came to visit us at our Washoe Valley home. Jane,
a hospice nurse, is just 20 months younger than I am, and we are very
close even though we live 3000 miles apart. Months later she finally
told me that, during her visit, she was sure I was going into a depression....
what she called anticipatory grieving. She knows me well,
and she could see what even I could not.
Becky and I chose an apartment-type hotel in New York, with me staying
in a large apartment with plenty of room for Daryl when
he came to visit me. Our director, Mark Hoebee, was a wonderful guy,
and a terrific director. He worked patiently with me as I tried to
find my own style in the part so very much associated with Julie.
We decided that I would play Victoria as a southern girl, rather than
British, like Julie. I could do the British accent, but I really needed
to make the part my own and try to move out of Julies formidable
Speaking of Julie, during one of my first trips to New York for meetings
with the director and producers, I attended a performance of VICTOR/VICTORIA
while Julie was still in the show. The minute she made her entrance,
the audience adored her. Her innate beauty and charm glowed from the
stage. I could tell that she was struggling a bit with her voice.....
but only another singer would realize it. She was wonderful, as she
Later, I was escorted backstage to meet her. She was in an adjacent
room changing clothes when I arrived in her dressing room, but her
famous husband, Blake Edwards, was there, and he is a fascinating
man. I, of course, was in awe of him, but by the time Julie entered
the room, he had already offered me and Daryl the use of their home
in Switzerland anytime we wanted it!
When she entered, Julie gave me a warm smile, gave me a hug, and said
in her cultured British accent, I knew you were in the audience!
I could hear your laugh. This is one of my fondest memories
of the V/V experience.
I will take up the story again soon...perhaps next week. I never know
what I am going to write until I actually sit down at the computer.
Thank you for your interest. My hope is that perhaps, by hearing some
of the mistakes and wrong turns I have made, you may avoid some of
your own!! Until next time...Keep a Song of Joy Inside
Your Heart. -
going to have to postone TONIS TAKE until Tuesday morning. I
just dont have time, with all the holiday goings on, to organize
my thoughts. I hope you ALL have a safe, sane, and joyful New Year.
One of my fondest hopes for 2007 is that we will all try to be more
civil and courteous with each other. When you go out today, try to
greet people along the way with a smile....it can be a tiny one...just
try at least to have a pleasant look on your face (thats what
I tell Daryl....
Eeyore personified). The cashier at the supermarket.... the lady
you meet pushing her cart in the grocery aisle....the teller at the
bank..the kid walking their dog. Try looking them straight in the
eyes and say, Good morning or just Hi as you
pass by. I find that even people who seem to be total grumps will
light up just a bit if you do that. And look for TONIS TAKE
this Tuesday. Until then, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.
24 , 2006
CHRISTMAS EVE 2006 | THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR
The air was a chilly 40 degrees this morning as the sun rose over
the palm trees here at our home in La Quinta. However, the sky
is now a brilliant blue, and the temperature is supposed to reach
the mid 70s here on this lovely Christmas Eve. My sister, Louisa
and her husband, Bob, along with their darling little Chow/Corgi
mix, Tina, arrived yesterday to spend Christmas with us. I adore
Louisa and Bob....they are bright and funny, and make me laugh.
Today I am making dinner for Louisa and Bob, our friends Judy
and Boots, and, of course, dear Daryl. It will be a pretty simple
repast..... Chicken and Dumplings for everyone but Daryl. He will
have his own vegetarian entree. Well all enjoy steamed green
beans with almonds, and big salad. Daryl gets a special dessert...Legal
I plan to bake as soon as I finish writing this. Legal
means, as most of you know, a whole wheat pie crust, and honey
or pure maple syrup instead of sugar for the apple filling. The
rest of us are going to try to make a dent in the fudge and brownies
we have been given as gifts. But more important than the food,
is the warm friendship and lively conversation well share
I know you will understand when I tell you that this TONIS
TAKE will be brief. I have lots of cooking to do!
Since we are about to begin a brand new year, I had the thought
that you should know a few basic things about us. Many of you
probably think you know us pretty well, but you might be surprised
at what I am about to tell you. Some of you may be disillusioned,
and decide that we are not your cup of tea. But it
has always been my policy to be up front and straight ahead. Emotional
gameplaying is a total waste of time. The shortest distance between
two points is a straight line. You must be who you are, and if
people dont like it, then they are not the kind of people
you should be worried about impressing or spending time with.
Daryl and I are not religious. He was raised Catholic, and I was
raised Episcopalian, but over the years, we found that organized
religion did not speak to our spiritual needs. We have many friends
who are Christian....and we also have friends who are Jews, Agnostics,
a couple of Atheists, and even a B'Hai guy! We love and respect
them all. In fact, we included SILENT NIGHT on our Christmas CD
(which is otherwise pretty secular) , not only because it is a
beautiful song, but also because it means so much to our Christian
friends and relatives, such as my sister, Melissa.
Daryl is a registered Republican, and I am a registered Democrat,
but we found that neither political party truly represented us.
So, since everybody seems to need some sort of "label"
these days, we call ourselves "Independent Moderates."
Both of us were opposed to the Iraq war from the very beginning,
but were willing to accept the possibility that the administration
"knew things we didn't know", Unfortunately, things
have turned out exactly as we had feared, and we are terribly
distressed about it.
These days, most people talk about politics or religion only with
people who agree with them, because all sides are dug in, unwilling
to consider another opinion, and it just causes tension and stress.
It saddens me so much that our country has become so divided...that
civility and common courtesy seem to be rarities. I am hoping
that, in the new year, we will all find more common ground, and
try to treat each other with more respect and care.
Daryl and I both hope you all have a joyous and warm Christmas
and much happiness in 2007. In the meantime, Keep A Song
of Joy Inside Your Heart. -
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.... MY VICTOR/VICTORIA STORY - PART
From the time I was a little girl, growing up in Alabama, music
and the arts were a central part of my life. I studied classical
piano from the time I was seven years old until my senior year in
high school. I also took classes in ballet, tap, and acrobatics
(I was way too tall for ballet, and I was horrible at the acrobatics...
couldnt do a frontwise split.... I had to turn my hips sideways
to do the deed). Most of my friends, and my sister Jane, took dance
classes as well. To this day I am grateful for the classes and the
dance recitals. Im a rotten dancer, but at least I stand up
straight, and dont usually bump into the furniture on stage.
I was tall even then, and a bit chubby, and pretty awkward, so dance
classes helped a lot with my ability to move around with a modicum
By the time I reached junior high school, I was very excited about
theatre and doing plays. I acted in my very first play when I was
in ninth grade. The play was FATHER KNOWS BEST, and, of course,
since I was SO tall, I played Mother. I acted in at
least a play a year until I went to college at Auburn University.
There I majored in English and minored in Music and sang every weekend
with the Auburn Knights Orchestra to help pay for my education,
so theatre fell by the wayside until a few years later.
My sisters and I used to sing together constantly, trying to pick
out the harmonies from female groups like THE McGUIRE
SISTERS and THE KING
SISTERS. We learned all the songs in every new musical that
hit Broadway. Whenever we were in the car together, we would assign
each other parts and would sing the entire score to SOUTH PACIFIC,
OKLAHOMA, even PORGY AND BESS (I was always Porgy). This would,
of course, drive our parents crazy, but there was no shutting us
I always had a thought in the back of my mind that I would love
to perform in a musical on Broadway. A lot of girls have this same
dream, and I realized my chances were less than slim. But still,
the idea always lurked in the back of my mind. I did perform in
many community theatre musical productions and plays over the years...I
even WROTE my own musical, MOTHER EARTH, at
South Coast Repertory Theatre in southern California. Even though
the shows were fun to do, and I learned a LOT... they werent
Which brings me to VICTOR/VICTORIA.
This is a long story, and I probably will have to write it in two
parts, so here begins the saga. (see www.youtube.com clip of Julie
Around 1997, a friend of our then manager, suggested to me that he
thought I would be perfect to take over the role of Victoria in the
which was running on Broadway at the time, starring the great, beloved
Andrews. She had already starred in a wonderful 1983 movie of
the same title, written and directed by her famous husband, Blake
Edwards, of PINK
The V/V story in a nutshell is about a woman pretending to be
a man pretending to be a woman, and the part is demanding, for
the singing as well as the acting. Henry Mancini wrote most of the
score...but, sadly, he passed away before it was completed, and Frank
Wildhorn completed the score. Leslie Bricusse wrote the lyrics.
I got a copy of the score, and started to work through it, to see
if I could handle the vocal demands. I found it fit comfortably within
my range... in fact, it worked well for me, because I am basically
a tenor. The only vocal problem for me was the one high note, which
provides a running joke throughout the play. Everytime
Victoria sings that high note, glass shatters, and everything and
everyone within earshot comes to an awe-struck halt. I could sing
a high enough note to make the joke work, but Id be in trouble
if I ever had a cold or an allergic reaction, because the first things
I lose in my voice are my falsetto or high notes. As long
as I am singing in the chest range, I can sing for hours
with no problem.
The more I thought about the possibility of doing the role, the more
I wanted to do it. Julie was reportedly exhausted. She had taken the
show through all the out of town tryouts, which are just brutal and
incredibly demanding, and had been starring in it on Broadway for
quite some time. After studying the score, I had the thought that
perhaps it was even more demanding for her voice than it would be
for mine, because she is a true soprano, and singing in the chest
voice all the time is difficult for most sopranos.
The financial success of the show rested on her slender shoulders
and crystalline voice. The word on the street was that she was continuing
the run because she was trying to keep going until the show turned
a profit. In spite of her difficulty, she was thinking of the investors
Daryl and I talked about my going for the part, and we decided that,
in the SLIM possibility it should EVER come to pass, wed figure
out how to get ourselves and the dogs and cats to New York for this
I decided that the first thing I had to do was record myself singing
some of the songs from the show. Once the tape was made, I sent it
to our manager, and she played it for various industry people. She
said the general concensus was that I would be great in the part and
should go for it. Also, Im tall and not big-busted (Julie had
to be squashed in the breast area to look more like guy
in her tuxedo) so, physically, I could pull off the Victor
part. There didnt appear to be a great deal of dancing for Victoria...
a bit of soft shoe with Toddy..so I figured I could handle it (or
My next step was to make an audition video of myself doing one of
the scenes from the show. This turned out to be a big, expensive proposition,
but the tape was terrific, and, in the end, was instrumental in my
getting the part.
One of the many problems facing me was the fact that I had NO connections
in New York musical theatre. However, my manager had a colleague who
worked for one of the biggest theatrical agencies in New York, and
there was a possibility he could get my audition tape to the right
Now remember, all the time I was trying to get this part, I had in
mind that I would take over the role on Broadway. That meant moving
to New York for the length of the run. I never thought beyond that
As all the pieces started to fall into place, and I began to think
I had a real shot at the part, word came that Raquel
Welch had been chosen to take over for Julie on Broadway. I was
too late, and probably didnt have a big enough name anyway.
I had no Broadway experience, and Raquel had appeared in a Broadway
musical...WOMAN OF THE YEAR I believe it was... a few years back.
I had a very hard time picturing Welch, who was no more than 54
tall, and very big busted, being believable as a man. When she was
cast, I thought that was the end for me.
Well, Raquels run lasted only a few weeks. Without Julie in
the lead, VICTOR/VICTORIA closed on Broadway. The show just couldnt
make it without her. I doubt I could have kept it going much longer
either, but I sure would love to have tried.
Then came the possibility of doing the first National Tour of the
show. I was pretty naive about how this was done, but I THOUGHT the
show would play in large cities, like LA and Toronto, for two or three
months at a time before moving to another place. Maybe Daryl and I
and the pets could rent a house in each location if I got the part.
By that time, I was like an out-of-control freight train, hurtling
down the tracks without brakes. I WANTED that part. I KNEW Id
be good in it. I could deal with two or three months in each city.
Wed work everything out so I could have this ONE chance to do
a Broadway musical...even if it WAS on the road and not in New York.
Finally, after meeting with the producers and tour company in New
York, I found out what the tour would REALLY be like. It would involve
a month of rehearsals in New York, and forty weeks on the road, changing
cities every week for the most part...sometimes doing a split
week....three days in one city...three days in another. All the while
I would be doing eight shows a week. One on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
and Friday, and two on Saturday and Sunday. Monday wed pack
up, head to the airport, and move to the next city. I would be required
to do television interviews on opening day in each city, and phone
interviews throughout the week...most of them on Thursdays..to promote
the show in the next city.
If I had managed to stop the train for a while, and take stock of
the ramifications of the decision I was about to make, Im sure
I would have turned and run in the opposite direction. But I just
was SO close to what I had been working for... well, not EXACTLY what
I had been working for.... I failed to heed the warning in my gut.
NEVER ignore what your GUT is telling you! Even as old as I was at
the time (57), and ALL the years I had been in the business, I made
a huge mistake, and I, and many others, paid the price.
I will continue the VICTOR/VICTORIA story in future columns. You know,
I think it is going to take more than two columns to tell this story.
Actually, as I am writing about it, I am starting to relive some of
the emotional upheaval I went through. It is proving to be hard to
put myself back in that place. There is SO much to tell, and I learned
a BIG lesson about myself, and I learned it the hard way.
I hope you are all having a joyous and peaceful holiday season. Until
next time, Keep A Song of Joy Inside Your Heart.-