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Cherish by The Association

Album: And Then... Along Comes The AssociationReleased: 1966Charted:
1
  • 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 multi-instrumentalist 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.
  • The music licensing organization BMI ranked "Cherish" at #22 on their list of the most-played songs on television and radio of the 20th century in America. Another Association song, "Never My Love," came in at #2.
  • 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.
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Comments: 22

It was stated, "Curt Boettcher produced this in a garage that was converted into a studio by Gary Paxton" WRONG. It wasn't a garage it was a bus that was in Paxton's side yard.Jules - Texas
Just to do some record-straight-setting: Mike commented, (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.) WRONG. We had been playing the songs for months before the sessions. The skillset of a studio player and a stage performing musician are different worlds. The band and I told the studio players more or less what to play. I was the only "studio" musician in the band at the time and played (A martin electric acoustic axe) on all the tracks. The parts were not all that complex except for those who played mostly 3 chord songs. Studio cats generally are able to play the EXACT same line take after take, time after time, a valuable skill. Stage players may play different "parts" each time through which if excellent for stage but generally sucks for studio work.Jules - Texas
On August 21st 1966, "Cherish" by the Association entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #66; and on September18th, 1966 it peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
It was preceded and succeeded at #1 by two Motown acts; the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" preceded it in the top spot and it was "Reach Out I'll Be There" by the Four Tops that succeeded it at #1...
Between 1966 and 1981 the California-based sextet had thirteen Top 100 records; five made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, their other #1 record was "Windy", it reached the top spot {for 4 weeks} on June 25th, 1967...
The just missed having a third #1 record when "Never My Love" peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} in 1967; and the 2 weeks it was at #2 the #1 record for both those weeks was "The Letter" by the Box Tops.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
...which should tell you a lot about the readers of Rolling Stone, as well as the magazine itself, Matthew. Both are to be taken with a generous dose of salt.Rod - Boise, Id
Cherish is often still to this day, played at weddings. It is a beautiful song. Great job Terry Kirkman!Coy - Palestine, Tx
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 ZILLIONSMatthew - 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 songDeana - Indianapolis, In