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 "Cherish" 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 the song 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, a cover of "Cherish" was a #9 US hit for David Cassidy, who played Keith Partridge on The Partridge Family. It was his first hit; 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.
The '90s R&B quartet Jodeci covered this for the 1991 Fried Green Tomatoes soundtrack and also included it as a bonus track on their debut album, Forever My Lady.
The many TV shows that have used The Association hit include The Wonder Years (1988, episode: "Dance With Me"), The Nanny (1998, episode: "The Engagement"), The Simpsons (2008, episode: "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words"), Crossing Jordan (2002, episode: "Secrets & Lies: Part 2"), and Six Feet Under (2003, episode: "I'm Sorry, I'm Lost").
This was also featured in the 2002 comedy The Sweetest Thing, starring Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate, and in the 2009 comedy He's Just Not That Into You, starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston.