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‘Muskrat Love’ by Captain and Tenille

Captain & Tennille recorded “Muskrat Love” for their 1976 album release Song of Joy. According to Toni Tennille, who comprised Captain & Tennille with her husband Daryl Dragon, the duo had added the song to their nightclub set list a few years earlier after hearing the America single on their car radio: Tennille – “I said to Daryl: ‘Did you hear that? I swear they’re singing about muskrats.’ I had to know what the lyrics were so the next day we went out and found the sheet music. I said to Daryl: “This song is hysterical; why don’t we add it to our club-act?’ And [the audience] went nuts for it.” Being short one track for Song of Joy, Captain & Tennille made an impromptu decision to record “Muskrat Love”, including the synthesizer generated sound effects which Dragon had created for the song’s performance in their nightclub act, these sound effects meant to evoke the imagined sound of muskrats mating: the eventual 7″ single version of Captain & Tennille’s “Muskrat Love” would feature an “endless loop” of these sound effects created by having the song’s end run into the locked groove of the 45.

Despite Captain & Tennille’s stated disinterest in highlighting “Muskrat Love” as an item in their repertoire, it was the song they chose to sing at a July 1976 White House dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth II: the press subsequently ran a statement from a dinner guest who opined it was “in very poor taste” to sing of mating muskrats before the Queen. Toni Tennille responded to this charge saying: “only a person with a dirty mind would see something wrong. It’s a gentle Disneyesque kind of song.”

Based on the Captain & Tennille version, “Muskrat Love” has become a staple on “worst song” lists, including a 2006 poll by CNN.com Gerry Beckley of America cited “Muskrat Love” as “a fine example of where the closer you go back to the original seed, the nicer it is. Ours was once removed, and the Captain & Tennille’s was even more removed.”

#4 in1976 – how about today?

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