You may have first heard the quirky 'Cups' in 'Pitch Perfect' nearly a year ago. Just this week, the song hits the Billboard Hot 100's top 10. Let's recap its lengthy journey.
As reported yesterday, Anna Kendrick reaches the Billboard Hot 100's top 10 at last with "Cups (Pitch Perfect's When I'm Gone)," which rises 13-10 in its 28th week on the chart.
Since it's been almost a year since her song was released via the box office hit "Pitch Perfect," and since the track is still finding new audiences thanks to its continued inroads at radio, let's look back at the pop culture and chart odyssey that "Cups" has taken on its way to reaching the Hot 100's top tier this week.
Aug. 9, 1985
Kendrick is born in Portland, Maine. (Why not start at the beginning?)
Kendrick catches a bus from Portland to New York to attend auditions, ultimately with her sights set on performing on Broadway. By 1998, at 12, she scores her first acting role, as Dinah, in the Broadway musical "High Society." Her performance nets her a Tony Award nomination, making her the third-youngest Tony Award nominee ever.
(And now we fast-forward …)
Sept. 28, 2012
"Pitch Perfect" premieres in U.S. theaters. It ranks at No. 3 in its first weekend, grossing $14.8 million. It trails "Taken 2" and "Hotel Transylvania" (neither of which, obviously, boast a song keeping them in public consciousness long after like "Cups" has done for "Pitch Perfect," reinforcing the staying power that a soundtrack hit can engender for a film).
Kendrick appears on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" and shows off her dexterity at performing "Cups" as she does in "Pitch Perfect."
Actually, let's go way back to 1931 for a moment: In 2009, British act Lulu and the Lampshades unveiled its version, and unique cup-assisted performance style, of "When I'm Gone" as a reworking of the Carter Family's 1931 recording of the Appalachian folk song "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone" (also later popularized by J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers). Anna Burden's viral performance subsequently garnered attention on YouTube (3.7 million views to date), which led to front page placement on Reddit, while myriad other online covers followed.
"'Cause I'm a huge loser, I thought the best way to spend an entire afternoon would be watching (Burden's) video 50 times and teaching myself how to do it," Kendrick told Letterman. When the film's creative powers "found out I could, they wanted me to (perform) it in the movie."
The "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack debuts on the Billboard 200 at No. 43 with 9,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Jan. 12, 2013
In its 1-minute-16-second-long soundtrack version, "Cups" enters the Hot 100 at No. 93. At the time, 69% of its chart points are due to digital sales, 31% to streaming and 0% to radio.
With the film having achieved continued box office success, the "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack spends its first of three weeks at its No. 3 Billboard 200 peak. It's sold 772,000 to date (and jumps 20-13 on the current chart).
With the song in a new form (see next item), the official "Cups" video premieres. To date, it's up to 29 million YouTube views.