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Muskrat Love: "Every time I sing this song, I think of Henry Kissinger"
July 5, 2014 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Toni Tennille informed an audience that she and the Captain performed Muskrat Love at the dinner in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (PDF) as part of the Bicentennial celebrations at the White House, much to the intrigue and/or confusion of Henry Kissinger. Though there doesn't seem to be any video of the performance, there is some photographic evidence (description of photos (PDF)). The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum tumblr has a post on the event, with a higher quality image of Captain and Tennillee in action. For better or worse, there aren't any people in muskrat-type costumes to be seen.
posted by filthy light thief (31 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Ford Library and Museum full search turns up some interesting results for "Tennille," including this daily diary noting that the President talked to Toni for four minutes on the evening of September 27, 1976.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:19 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Finally, I get to mention this.

Please note that the Captain & Tenille version is a cover. Here's the original, by Willis Alan Ramsey.

And a later, but pre-C&T version, by America.

Note that, aside from production values, almost nothing changed between versions. Which is why it always bothers me that the song is synonymous with the Captain and Tenille.

Sorry to interrupt.
posted by MrVisible at 11:32 AM on July 5 [6 favorites]


For what it's worth, Tennille gives credit to Ramsey when introducing the song in the first link.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Captain & Tenille! And Bob Hope!

How do we begin to apologize? Do we make reparations?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:49 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


it always bothers me that the song is synonymous with the Captain and Tenille

What bothers me is that Tenille is so disturbingly, preternaturally happy.
posted by orange swan at 11:54 AM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Tenille is so disturbingly, preternaturally happy

Lack of drugs is a hell of a drug.
posted by srboisvert at 12:12 PM on July 5


Sorry, FLT; didn't mean to come off as resentful towards the happy couple. I know they gave credit, and royalties, and I'm sure Willis Alan Ramsey has nothing against them. I just... I like the song, okay? I actually, unironically like it. It reminds me of the backseat of a giant red convertible on Florida backroads when I was twelve. I didn't even know what a muskrat was. I didn't care, it was a great song, and no matter how much I try to convince myself that it's soppy, cheesy generic pop, I smile every time I hear it, and I want to sing along.

The original has a tongue-in-cheek feel to it that didn't make it to the covers, a kind of sly, you're-in-on-the-joke kind of feel. It's sweet, without wandering into schmaltz. Or that's what I tell myself.

Please stay tuned for my impassioned defense of Afternoon Delight as an essential cultural touchstone.
posted by MrVisible at 12:13 PM on July 5 [14 favorites]


I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who thinks of Henry Kissenger when I hear this song. I didn't know that story though.

Sometimes it just helps to talk about these things.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:18 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


Please stay tuned for my impassioned defense of Afternoon Delight as an essential cultural touchmillstone.

FTFY.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:32 PM on July 5 [3 favorites]


>I just... I like the song, okay? I actually, unironically like it.

Opinions about music are entirely subjective; yours, for instance, are entirely equal to mine, and I would not for one second begrudge you your enjoyment of any song you happen to enjoy.

That said, if I had access to a functioning Awaken Cthulhu button, playing Muskrat Love would be one way to get me to press it.

Love Will Keep Us Together, on the other hand, I quite liked.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:35 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


It must be noted that there is no more Muskrat Love between 'Captain' Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:37 PM on July 5


Of all the many filthy light thief posts that seem made especially for me, this feels like the especialliest.

(Present day Mike has to fight for the honor of Captain and Tennille based solely on how strongly 3-4 year old Mike felt about them if nothing else. And making fun of Kissinger is timeless.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:38 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I thought the embers of my thirty seven years of hatred of Captain and Tenille had died decades ago but it seems they are easily reignited.

I had a paper route [back when children delivered the "paper", which was a thing used to deliver the "news" - Google it - it was a thing] on Bicentenial weekend and the Sunday paper was 376 pages - without inserts. I had to go back to the shack three times to deliver my route of 46.
posted by vapidave at 12:49 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


I quite liked the song, but now I have to think of Henry Kissinger I don't like it any more.
posted by Segundus at 12:52 PM on July 5


I am of that certain age that was trying to break into the Radio Biz at the time that Los Angeles stations were constantly playing The Captain & Tennille because they were the only pop act on the charts considered "local" to L.A. at the time, having previously done time as 'house act' for The Smoke House, a popular restaurant/bar in Burbank across the street from NBC Studios (and a good place to get discovered). After "Love Will Keep Us Together" (written by Neil Sedaka and way-to-obvious inspiration for Joy Division) had long reached over-saturation status, "Muskrat" was a weird-but-welcome change of pace.

AND one of my favorite webcomic injokes is in Dave Kellett's "Drive" scifi comic, where one of the main characters is a veteran woman starship commander referred to as "Captain Taneel". I loled. (It must also be noted that in spite of some of the whimsical alien designs that are in the comic, there are none that resemble muskrats. Some are similar to muskoxen...)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:00 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Captain & Tenille! And Bob Hope! How do we begin to apologize? Do we make reparations?

My Dear PotSmokingHippieOverlord, Sir Leslie Townes Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS, has nothing to apologize for, and, in regards to him, neither do we.
posted by Ranucci at 1:11 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


AND one of my favorite webcomic injokes is in Dave Kellett's "Drive" scifi comic, where one of the main characters is a veteran woman starship commander referred to as "Captain Taneel".

Hearing this I will neither confirm nor deny that, when playing an online game where my character could earn the title of Captain, I named her Antennille.

(Seriously, folks gotta stop hating on Toni Tennille. She sang a song in front of the Queen and the President and Kissinger about muskrats fucking! What have you ever done?)
posted by Spatch at 1:52 PM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Crafted my life so as to avoid such a situation?

kidding; I really have no strong feelings either way about C&T or their oeuvre
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:03 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Kissinger was obviously just concentrating hard on trying to ascertain the meaning of this unfamiliar word "love".
posted by Flunkie at 2:19 PM on July 5 [6 favorites]


muskrat love, dog and butterfly, popsicle toes...they are on my shit list and they will stay on my shit list.
posted by quazichimp at 2:22 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


The brevity of your list is disquieting, to say the least.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:30 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Please stay tuned for my impassioned defense of Afternoon Delight as an essential cultural touchstone.
Casey McCall would agree with you.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:43 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


Greg_Ace: "I really have no strong feelings either way about C&T or their oeuvre"

An oft-repeated but not unwise maxim: the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing.
posted by koeselitz at 3:11 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Did you know she sings on a Pink Floyd album?
posted by davebush at 3:17 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


"Look at the size of this tub! Wanna take a baaaath?"
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:13 PM on July 5 [2 favorites]


See, now this is why Metafilter us worth the bucks. I did not know she sang on The Wall.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:07 PM on July 5


Wait, now I'm confused. The Wall FAQ says that her tracks were re-recorded by others and that she was NOT the groupie.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:10 PM on July 5


Every time I come across a mention of Angry Cat, I think about this era of American pop culture. In 40 years, we are going to look back at the golden age of the internet meme and feel similarly embarrassed.
posted by Sara C. at 5:12 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


My Dear PotSmokingHippieOverlord, Sir Leslie Townes Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS, has nothing to apologize for, and, in regards to him, neither do we.

I've not forgiven the fellow for flipping out over the acceptance speech for Hearts and Minds. I grew up in Southern California, and he was a dreadful right-wing prick, when Southern California was (and is) full of 'em.

Although I did lawl over the "Oscar = Passover" joke from years ago.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:56 PM on July 5


I'm just amazed that that song exists. And was some kind of hit beyond Dr. Demento. This is only icing on that cake.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:58 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


This is just bringing me back to my childhood, the time of "summer replacement" series on network TV. Young people may find it hard to believe that TV used to be filled with musical-variety programming, and some may disbelieve me entirely if I swear that Mac Davis once had a TV show where, in his theme song, he crooned that he loved baby's behinds. The Captain and Tennille once had a TV show. A pair of mimes had a TV show. It's true! I'm not making this up!
posted by acrasis at 7:59 AM on July 6 [2 favorites]


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