Cups (song)

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Song by Lulu and the Lampshades
A-side"Cold Water"
ReleasedFebruary 2011
LabelMoshi Moshi
Lulu and the Lampshades singles chronology
Feet To The Sky
Cold Water
Insomniacs Club

"Cups" is a version of the 1931 Carter Family song "When I'm Gone", usually performed a cappella with a cup used to provide percussion, as in the cup game.[1] It was first performed this way in a YouTube video by Luisa Gerstein and Heloise Tunstall-Behrens as Lulu and The Lampshades[2] in 2009 (under the title "You're Gonna Miss Me").[3] Composition of the song is credited to A. P. Carter and Luisa Gerstein of Lulu and the Lampshades.[4][5]

The song became popular after it was performed by Anna Kendrick in the 2012 film Pitch Perfect.[6] That version also became the official theme song of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.[7]

Origin and release[edit]

The original song "When I'm Gone" was written by A. P. Carter, then recorded in 1931 by the Carter Family (not to be confused with their 1928 song "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?").[8] The song was reworked in 1937 by J. E. Mainer.[9] Over the years it has been recorded by many people including Mainer's Mountaineers and Charlie Monroe.[10] In 1940 it was released by Elizabeth Cotten, a vocalist and guitar player. It can also be heard in the film Dan in Real Life.

Lulu and the Lampshades were the first to perform the song using the cup game for percussion. Anna Burden[11] made her own version[12] on YouTube of the Lulu and the Lamspshades video[3] that was discovered by Reddit, and where Anna Kendrick learned the routine,[9] prompting dozens of other YouTube users to submit cover versions of the song using the Cup Clap technique.[13] It was soon dubbed The Cup Song.[8][6]

The song is also used for the theme song for the BBC Two sitcom 'Mum' starring Lesley Manville.

Anna Kendrick version[edit]

"Cups (Pitch Perfect's "When I'm Gone")"
Anna Kendrick - Cups (Official Single Cover).png
Single by Anna Kendrick
from the album Pitch Perfect (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
ReleasedMarch 26, 2013
Anna Kendrick singles chronology
"Cups ("When I'm Gone")"
Pitch Perfect singles chronology
"Cups ("When I'm Gone")"
Music video
"Cups (When I'm Gone)" on YouTube

Though the song had been popular online for years, mainstream success came when it was incorporated into the film Pitch Perfect in 2012. In the film it is performed by the main character, Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick) during an audition for a college a cappella group.[14] Unlike the soundtrack version, the single version of the song was re-produced with additional instrumentation (notably the banjo) by American Music Award-winning music producer Ali Dee Theodore, Jordan Yaeger and Harvey Mason, Jr.. The single version was extended by an additional minute.[15] Prior to the single's release, covers of the song as well as tutorials on how to do the song (using cups) went viral. Kendrick has stated that she learned the song and its cup percussion from watching and doing it many times on Reddit prior to being cast in Pitch Perfect, and it was therefore written into the film.[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Prior to the song's release as a single in March 2013, the song debuted at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending January 12, 2013. Afterward, the single was released and the song began a slow but steady ascent up the chart. In its 32nd week on the chart, the song reached number 6, its peak position to date. By October 2013, all versions of the song had sold 2.5 million downloads in the US.[16]

On May 4, 2013, "Cups" returned to the top 50 of the ARIA Charts at a new peak of number 44, achieved in part due to the DVD of Pitch Perfect being released in Australia on April 13, 2013. It originally made it to number 48 in January 2013.

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Pitch Perfect's director Jason Moore.[17] It was released on April 12, 2013 on Anna Kendrick's Vevo channel.[18] The video opens with Anna Kendrick in a restaurant's kitchen cutting dough into biscuits with a plastic cup while looking up longingly at some postcards of far-away places, such as Scotland and Paris, stuck to the refrigerator. She puts the biscuits in the oven, sets a timer, and dusts her hands off with an oscillating fan, before pausing a moment, and then starting the song using the cup on the table. In a long continuous shot she washes her hands, takes a plate of food from the chef and makes her way out into the dining area, where all the customers are drumming the cups in various ways. The camera then follows her singing while collecting dirty dishes and cleaning tables, before it pans around and back out wide, showing the entire diner synchronously doing the routine during the bridge section. It then cuts back to her walking back to the kitchen, passing the chef now drumming with a cup instead of wooden utensils, and follows back to her at the table. The timer rings as the song ends, and she looks back up, out towards the dining area where everyone is now normal, realizing it was all her imagination. Taking one last look at the chef, she smiles and exits through the back door.[18][19][20]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[21] 44
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 75
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[23] 11
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[24] 2
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 12
Canada AC (Billboard)[26] 2
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[27] 32
Canada Hot AC (Billboard)[28] 13
France (SNEP)[29] 181
Ireland (IRMA)[30] 26
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[31] 11
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[32] 14
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[33] 26
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 71
US Billboard Hot 100[35] 6
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[36] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[37] 2
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[38] 8


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[39] Platinum 70,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[41] Gold 7,500[40]
United States (RIAA)[42] 3× Platinumdagger 2,500,000[16]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

dagger Since May 2013 RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and/or video song streams in addition to downloads.[43]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[44] 39
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[45] 67
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[46] 48
US Billboard Hot 100[47] 21
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[48] 11
US Adult Pop Songs (Billboard)[49] 13
US Pop Songs (Billboard)[50] 42
Chart (2014) Position
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[51] 48

Cover parody[edit]

The Maccabeats, a Jewish a capella group from Yeshiva University, covered Kendrick's version and parodied her music video with group members sitting around a Shabbat table singing the Shabbat morning table song "D'ror Yikra" while performing the cups routine.[52][53]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simbuilder5 (11 January 2008). "Tutorial: How to Do the Cup Beat" – via YouTube.
  2. ^ "LandShapes". YouTube.
  3. ^ a b LandShapes (8 June 2009). "You're Gonna Miss Me, Lulu and the Lampshades" – via YouTube.
  4. ^ "Pitch Perfect Soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "Anna Kendrick - Cups Lyrics - MetroLyrics".
  6. ^ a b c Jonah Mae Mabalay (26 January 2013). "The Cup Song (You're Gonna Miss Me) by Anna Kendrick on David Letterman" – via YouTube.
  7. ^ Sam Wilbur (2 April 2013). "Anna Kendrick, 'Cups' – New Song". AOL Radio Blog. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Cups, You're Gonna Miss Me: Evolution of a Song". Archived from the original on December 2, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "A Comprehensive History of the 'Cups' Phenomenon". 15 August 2013.
  10. ^ Russell, Tony (2004). Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942. Oxford University Press. pp. 189, 582, 632. ISBN 0-19-513989-5.
  11. ^ "Anna Burden". YouTube.
  12. ^ Anna Burden (8 June 2011). "You're Gonna Miss Me (Cups)- Lulu and the Lampshades by Anna Burden" – via YouTube.
  13. ^ cheesyhero246 (17 August 2006). "Cup Clap Game" – via YouTube.
  14. ^ Valckrie (30 December 2012). "Pitch Perfect: Anna Kendrick Cups Scene" – via YouTube.
  15. ^ Jeff Benjamin (March 15, 2013). "Anna Kendrick's 'Cups': Is the 'Pitch Perfect' Song a Radio Hit?".
  16. ^ a b "Anna Kendrick Tops AC Chart with 'Cups'". Billboard. October 7, 2013.
  17. ^ "Weekly Chart Notes: Anna Kendrick Finally 'Pitch Perfect' For Radio". Billboard. March 15, 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Anna Kendrick - Cups (Pitch Perfect's "When I'm Gone")". Vevo. April 12, 2013.
  19. ^ "Anna Kendrick's 'Cups' Timeline: How Her 'Pitch Perfect' Song Became a Top 10 Hit".
  20. ^ Bandstand Busking (2 October 2009). "Lulu and the Lampshades - Cups (You're Gonna Miss Me)" – via YouTube.
  21. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  22. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  23. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  24. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in French). Ultratip.
  25. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  26. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Canada AC)". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  27. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Canada CHR/Top 40)". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  28. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Canada Hot AC)". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  29. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  30. ^ "Chart Track: Week 32, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  31. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Anna Kendrick" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  32. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  33. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  35. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  36. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  37. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  38. ^ "Anna Kendrick Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  39. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  40. ^ Singles Archived 2012-03-27 at WebCite at NZ Top 40
  41. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Anna Kendrick – Cups". Recorded Music NZ.
  42. ^ "American single certifications – Anna Kendrick – Cups". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  43. ^ "RIAA Adds Digital Streams To Historic Gold & Platinum Awards". Recording Industry Association of America. May 9, 2013. Archived from the original on June 4, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  44. ^ "Canadian Hot 100: 2013 Year-End Charts". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  45. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN 2013: Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop (NL). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  46. ^ "Dutch charts portal" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  47. ^ "Hot 100 Songs: 2013 Year-End Chart". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  48. ^ "Adult Contemporary Songs: Page 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  49. ^ "Adult Pop Songs: Page 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  50. ^ "Pop Songs: Page 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  51. ^ "Adult Contemporary Songs – Year-End 2014". Billboard. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  52. ^ "New From the Maccabeats: Dror Yikra (Cups)". Jewish Music Report. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  53. ^ The Voice Kids (21 March 2014). "Anna Kendrick - Cup-Song (Larissa) - The Voice Kids 2014 - Blind Audition - SAT.1" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]