Toni Tennille

More Songs and Stories from The Secret Of Christmas

Toni Tennille1 Comment

Dear friends … all of a sudden Christmas Day is only four days away, and I am, as usual, way behind and unprepared! But I do want to leave you with these songs from the Captain & Tennille Christmas CD, THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS.

When Daryl and I created our one and only Christmas CD back in 2006, we decided that I would arrange and produce the more 'traditional' Christmas songs, and Daryl would do his wonderfully odd, witty and sometimes rather strange versions of Christmas songs that appealed to him. When I finished one of my arrangements, I would hand it over to Daryl, and he would create his special keyboard sounds to help make the song 'come alive'. Often you can hear his signature quirky style in one of my more conventional arrangements … for example, in the background vocals of "Boogie Baby Christmas" (which I wrote for him) … not to mention his fabulous boogie solo.

But in "Daryl of the Bells", Daryl was completely unleashed! I just listened to it again for the first time in a couple of years, and was struck by the absolute genius of his work. It is certainly not a 'traditional' version of the song. And about two or three minutes in, you hear the sound of a train approaching, and suddenly you are on that train, going through all sorts of weird musical scenery … until you finally end up in what sounds to me like a disco/rock nightclub kind of thing. I know … it sounds really 'out there' … and it IS! Listen to it and see what comes into your mind.

SPECIAL NOTE: All of the voices you hear are mine … even the ones that sound like a man … or a mouse! Daryl ran my voice through his synthesizers to change the sound of my vocals to suit his musical vision.

By the way, I just talked to Daryl a couple of days ago, and he sounded GREAT! That makes me very happy. I am HOPING he will find his way back to his keyboards again.

"The Secret of Christmas" … this is my favorite Christmas song. Written by the great Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, the lyrics express exactly how I feel about the Christmas holiday. "The secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through."

And remember, as we approach the New Year, KEEP A SONG OF JOY INSIDE YOUR HEART!

You can listen to the full THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS album on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube. You can also purchase it on compact disc from Amazon.

Two Songs From The Secret Of Christmas

Toni Tennille6 Comments

Hello everyone! Ready or not, the Christmas holidays are upon us. I thought I would take this time leading up to Christmas day to talk about the last CD Daryl and I created together … THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS.

I loved making this CD for many reasons, but most of all because it was the most relaxed, comfortable, fun and creative time I ever had as a singer and songwriter working on a CD with Daryl. Absolutely no drama!!!! For some reason, Daryl was perfectly happy turning over the arranging and producing of most of the tracks to me. I had the most wonderful time sitting at my Yamaha Conservatory Grand Piano in our winter home near Palm Springs, writing out music and vocal arrangements for “my” songs, and working with Daryl on the songs he arranged and produced.

There were a couple of times we “cross pollinated” on some of the tracks, and, if you listen to them all, I am pretty sure you can tell which ones were all or mostly my work, and which ones were uniquely Daryl’s.

I don’t think Daryl was particularly interested in the more “traditional” Christmas songs we recorded, so he left them to me. Daryl has always gone waaaay out there in his musical ideas and productions … and throws in a lot of his own special brand of dry humor into his work.

This first song from the CD is an example of my songwriting. I got the idea for "Christmas In California" years ago while I was watching the Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Harbor, California. It struck me that in California you could find warm breezes, palm trees and beautiful flowers abounding on Christmas Day, but you could also head up to Big Bear or Lake Tahoe to ski and play in the snow. The first line of the lyric just popped into my head: “Christmas in California may not be like the ones you know / When you look around you may not see snow.” Now that I live in Florida, my sister Jane has been trying to get me to change the title to "Christmas In Florida", and urging me to try to sell it to Disney!!!!! HAH! She is my biggest promoter!.

Now, for an example of Daryl’s unique style, listen to his version of "Here Comes Santa Claus". He features the “muskrats” in the arrangement. I believe Daryl has always thought of himself as a kind of contemporary Spike Jones. If you don’t know who Spike Jones was, check him out on YouTube!

In my next post, I will feature two or three more songs from THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS. Hopefully they will help you get into the Holiday spirit!


You can listen to the full THE SECRET OF CHRISTMAS album on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube. You can also purchase it on compact disc from Amazon.

"Can't Stop Dancing" On Dancing With The Stars

Toni Tennille4 Comments

As soon as Daryl and I had our first #1 hit record and platinum album, we began to be deluged with submissions of songs from songwriters and publishing companies. There was no way we could spend the time to listen to them all and still keep up with everything else we had to do. So we enlisted the talented "ears" of my sisters, Louisa and Jane. Louisa would listen to every single song that was offered, and then would make a tape for us of the first 20 or 30 seconds of each song she thought would work for us. Then we would choose the ones that caught OUR ears and listen to the entire demo. Jane lived in Nashville at the time, and would go down to the publishing offices on Music Row to find songs we might like. One of the songs Jane found for us was "Can't Stop Dancing" by Ray Stevens. When we recorded it, I always thought Daryl pushed the tempo a bit too much, and that it was really too fast to dance to … but people seemed to really like the song as much as we did.

Several months ago Dancing with the Stars asked permission to use the song on one of their shows, and we signed off and forgot about it. But I was THRILLED when I found out they used it last Monday evening for the first dance of the season, and was amazed by the fantastic dancing of Marilu Henner and Derek Hough! It is always really fun to hear one of our songs pop up in a film or on a TV series.

And here I am performing "Can't Stop Dancing" with Daryl on The Toni Tennille Show in 1980: