Cups (song)

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Song by Lulu and the Lampshades
Released February 2011
A-side "Cold Water"
Label Moshi Moshi
Lulu and the Lampshades singles chronology
"Feet To The Sky" / "Rose Tint"
"Cold Water" / "Cups"
"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. It was first performed this way in a YouTube video by Lulu and The Lampshades in 2009 (under the title "You're Gonna Miss Me"). Composition of the song is credited to A. P. Carter and Luisa Gerstein of Lulu and the Lampshades.[1]

The song became popular after it was covered by Anna Kendrick in the 2012 film Pitch Perfect. That version also became the official theme song of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.[2]

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?").[3] The song was reworked in 1937 by J. E. Mainer.[4] Over the years it has been recorded by many people including Mainer's Mountaineers and Charlie Monroe.[5] 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. Their video went viral after a Reddit posting, prompting dozens of other budding musicians to record cover versions of the song using the Cup Clap technique. It was soon dubbed The Cup Song.[3]

Anna Kendrick version[edit]

"Cups (Pitch Perfect's "When I'm Gone")"
Single by Anna Kendrick
from the album Pitch Perfect (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Released March 2013
Recorded 2012
Length 2:07
Music video
"Cups" 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. 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.[6] 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 many times on Reddit prior to being cast in Pitch Perfect, and it was therefore written into the film.[7]

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.[8]

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 shot the fourth week of March 2013, and it was directed by Pitch Perfect's director Jason Moore.[9] It was released on April 13, 2013 on Anna Kendrick's Vevo channel; as of September 2016 it had over 300 million views.[10]

It opens with Anna Kendrick in a restaurant's kitchen cutting dough into buns with a tall cup, while looking up longingly at some postcards of far-away places, such as Scotland, stuck to the refrigerator. She puts the buns in the oven, sets a timer, and dusts her hands off with an oscillating fan, before pausing a moment, and then starts 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, 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 and collecting dirty dishes, etc. before it pans around and back out wide, showing the entire diner 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. As the song ends the timer rings, 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 before she walks out the back door.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[11] 44
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[12] 75
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 11
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[14] 2
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[15] 12
Canada AC (Billboard)[16] 2
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[17] 32
Canada Hot AC (Billboard)[18] 13
France (SNEP)[19] 181
Ireland (IRMA)[20] 26
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[21] 11
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[22] 14
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 26
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 71
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 6
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[26] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[27] 2
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[28] 8


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[29] Platinum 70,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[30] Gold 7,500[31]
United States (RIAA)[32] 3× Platinumdagger 2,500,000[8]

*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.[33]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2013) Position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[34] 39
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[35] 67
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[36] 48
US Billboard Hot 100[37] 21
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[38] 11
US Adult Pop Songs (Billboard)[39] 13
US Pop Songs (Billboard)[40] 42

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pitch Perfect Soundtrack". IMDB. Retrieved June 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Sam Wilbur (2 April 2013). "Anna Kendrick, 'Cups' – New Song". AOL Radio Blog. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Cups, You're Gonna Miss Me: Evolution of a Song". Archived from the original on December 2, 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Russell, Tony (2004). Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942. Oxford University Press. pp. 189, 582, 632. ISBN 0-19-513989-5. 
  6. ^ Jeff Benjamin (March 15, 2013). "Anna Kendrick's "Cups": Is the 'Pitch Perfect' Song a Radio Hit?". 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b "Anna Kendrick Tops AC Chart With 'Cups'". Billboard. October 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Weekly Chart Notes: Anna Kendrick Finally 'Pitch Perfect' For Radio". Billboard. March 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Cups (Pitch Perfect's "When I'm Gone") (Director's Cut)". Vevo. April 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  12. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  13. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in French). Ultratip.
  15. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Billboard Canada AC for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  17. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Billboard Canada CHR/Top 40 for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  18. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Billboard Canada Hot AC for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  19. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  20. ^ "Chart Track: Week 32, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Anna Kendrick search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  22. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  23. ^ " – Anna Kendrick – Cups". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  24. ^ "Archive Chart: 2012-08-11" UK Singles Chart.
  25. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  26. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  27. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  28. ^ "Anna Kendrick – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Anna Kendrick. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  29. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  30. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Anna Kendrick – Cups". Recorded Music NZ. 
  31. ^ Singles at NZ Top 40
  32. ^ "American single certifications – Anna Kendrick – Cups". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  33. ^ "RIAA Adds Digital Streams To Historic Gold & Platinum Awards". Recording Industry Association of America. May 9, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Canadian Hot 100: 2013 Year-End Charts". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  35. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN 2013: Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop (NL). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Dutch charts portal" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Hot 100 Songs: 2013 Year-End Chart". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Adult Contemporary Songs: Page 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Adult Pop Songs: Page 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  40. ^ "Pop Songs: Page 1". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
by United States Usher
CONCACAF Gold Cup theme song
Succeeded by
"Sun Goes Down"
by Germany Robin Schulz and England Jasmine Thompson