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Cherish

by

The Association



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Despite the title, you don't want to play this song at your wedding. While the singer does cherish the girl, he knows that he can't possibly have her, and comes off a little desperate and obsessive. A far better choice is "Never My Love," which the group released a year later. That one finds our hero declaring his never-ending love.
This was the followup to The Association's first hit "Along Comes Mary." The Association was popular in the Los Angeles area, but gained national fame when this was released.
The Association's keyboard player Terry Kirkman wrote this in a half hour and incorporated it into their live act. Mike Whelan, who was in an earlier band with members of The Association, liked the song so much that he persuaded his new group, The New Christy Minstrels, to perform it as well. The Minstrels almost released it as a single before The Association.
Curt Boettcher produced this in a garage that was converted into a studio by Gary Paxton (of "Alley Oop" fame), but the recording has only two Association members on their instruments, the rest simply sang vocals. Boettcher used session musicians to play the other instruments.
Originally, this was 3:25 long. In an effort to encourage radio play, it was sped up and trimmed to 3:13, then listed on the label as 3:00 to appease stations refusing to play songs longer than 3 minutes.
In 1971, this was a #9 US hit for David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family. It was his first hit, and he soon became a teen idol and star of the show.
This is #22 on BMI's list of the most played 100 songs on television and radio of the 20th century.
When Terry Kirkman wrote this song, he envisioned it with a far different arrangement. He wanted to record in a far slower tempo to wring out the emotion in the song - similar to how The Righteous Brothers performed "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'."

The Association's next #1, "Windy," was a similar story. That song was written as more of a Folk-Blues tune, but the group recorded it in a faster tempo, gilded it with slick production, and turned it into a huge hit.
The Association
The Association Artistfacts
More The Association songs
More songs that were hits for more than one artist
More songs that were altered for radio
More songs about unrequited love
More songs that are commonly misinterpreted

Comments (17):

On December 19th 1971 "Cherish" by David Cassidy peaked at #9 (for 4 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on October 31st and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
The Association's original version reached #1 on the Top 100, Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
The readers of Rolling Stone Magazine voted this the 4th worst song of the Sixties. Really? This gorgeously written, beautifully performed, harmonious gem of 1966 may not be everyone's cup of tea (the lyrics are a little too self-consciously perfect, "cherish is the word that I use to describe all the feelings that I have hiding here for you inside"), but there are ZILLIONS
- Matthew, Toronto, ON
Frank from Santa Cruz, well said. This song is perfection.
- Camille, Toronto, OH
After 44 years, I still cry everytime I hear this song. It sadly was the song that I shared with the love of my life, Carl K. We loved so deeply, but like Romeo and Juliet, our families would never allow it!
- Bess, Kent, WA
Thanks, Don. Now I have everything. But, the girl.
- Ron, Hemet, CA
This is for my ol' pal, Ron. You always asked me to do this if I ever had a chance. So, since you haven't done this since March 1967, I'm doing it for you, now. Dedicating Cherish by the Association:

To Micki from Ron.

My pleasure, pal. --Don
- Don, L.A., CA
Desperate and obsessive is the human condition. Which one of us has never known unrequited love at one time or another in our life? This song is an absolute masterpiece, an opinion held by everyone from John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Brian Wilson, Paul Simon and Neil Young.
- Frank, Santa Cruz, CA
I like to pick all the harmonies of songs apart and try to sing them all. I am usually good at picking out the harmonies. I have tried and tried, and the harmonies are so difficult to pick out that I just can't get them all. Probably some of the most intricate harmonies ever!
- Ron, Auburndale, FL
I just wanted to correct a comment made about the making of this song--according to Jerry Scheff's website, he did the complicated bass work on "Along Comes Mary"--this is where the famous false note is played. The basslines on "Cherish" are quite straightforward by comparison.
- ginnykub, denver, CO
My friend Pete brought to my attention that the lyrics have a bit of a stalker element. To wit:

Cherish is the word I use to describe
All the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside
You don't know how many times I've wished that I had told you
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could hold you
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could
Mold you into someone who could
Cherish me as much as I cherish you

I love the song, but you have to admit it's a bit obsessive. Love...
- Phil, Brooklyn, NY
This song just makes me happy whenever I hear it.
- Pamela, Oregon, OH
In the 80's, both Kool & The Gang and Madonna reached #2 with different "Cherish" hits.
- Rick, San Juan, United States
I do not know why - perhaps it's those wedding bell sounds - but this song always makes me think of Mark Eubanks and the Newlywed Game. Weird, I know.
- Wes, Springfield, VA
ANDY WILLIAMS just released an "unreleased" version of the Association's "Cherish" a couple of years ago on his B-Sides & Rarities CD. One listen to HIM singing it and you'll want to play it again and again!!!!! His version is THAT GOOD!
- Dave, Oak Park, MI
The Association was originally asked to sing "MacArthur Park," but turned it down (probably because they felt the lyrics were absurd).
- Pudgemuffin, Buffalo, NY
Studio wizards Mike Deasy Sr. (guitar), and Jerry Scheff (bass) were brought in to handle the rhythm work. Much of the music was too complex for the regular band, who had to learn the parts from the studio players before they went out on the road.

Scheff comments on his web page that there was a bad note in the bass line, that was left. It has since been played exactly the same way by many of those who have covered the song since.
- Mike, Seattle, WA
"The Happy Hooker", Xaveria Hollander, wrote that this was her favorite song
- Deana, Indianapolis, IN
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