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"Cherish" was built around the themes of love and relationship, with William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet being one of the major inspirations.The track also included a line from "Cherish" by the 1960s band The Association.
It was written and produced by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, and was released by Sire Records as the album's third single on August 1, 1989.On the Billboard Hot 100, "Cherish" became Madonna's 16th consecutive top-five single, setting a record in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.A black-and-white music video for the song was directed by photographer Herb Ritts at the Paradise Cove Beach in Malibu, California.Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine felt that although "Cherish" was a "radiant" song invoking the pop music of the 60s, "in the grand pop scheme, [it] pales only in comparison to their glorious counterparts, making Like a Prayer one of the quintessential pop albums of all time.""'Cherish' was a particular triumph for the Madonna/Patrick Leonard partnership.A delightful confection of radio-ready proportions, the song had it all—strong, positive, remarkably dysfunction-free lyrics about love, a memorable, singalong vocal melody, and a tight, pungent rhythm arrangement.Musically constructed as a doo-wop-style pop song, it is regarded as a light-hearted track by critics and includes instruments such as a drum machine, percussions, keyboards and a saxophone.
Lyrically, it speaks of Madonna's devotion to her lover, and her promise to be always by his side.The drum changes its rhythm and Madonna moves into the chorus, "Cherish the joy, of always having you here by my side", accompanied by background vocals and a bass guitar.According to the sheet music published by Alfred Publishing Co.Inc., "Cherish" is composed in the time signature of common time, with a moderately fast tempo of 130 beats per minute.Set in the key of D major, "Cherish" has Madonna singing between the tonal nodes of A According to semiotician Thomas Sebeok, the backbone of "Cherish" is constructed by incorporating titles of previous romantic pop hits.As an example, she cited "Cherish" as one of the most "retarded" songs she had written, but noted it became a commercial success.