It’s become the surprise breakout hit from a movie that’s taken on a life of its own even after it was in theaters. The song is “Cups (When I’m Gone)”, the current #30 on the Hot 100, performed by actress Anna Kendrick from the film Pitch Perfect. Interpolating the 1937 song by J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers, “Miss Me When I’m Gone”, the song is climbing in both airplay and sales thanks to a radio remix which incorporates a folk backing behind Kendrick’s vocal and, of course, the sound of cups hitting the ground and her claps. It’s a rare hit for so many reasons, including the origin of the lyrics, the fact that the movie was screening last fall, and now Kendrick is just the fourth artist born in the state of Maine to have a top 40 hit behind Rick Pinette & Oak (1980), Howie Day (2004) and Spose (2010). It’s not every day that we have a popular single that has the word “cup” in the title either, so before you go spilling the tea on this one, drink a little of this chart concoction:
“I’ll Just Have A Cup Of Coffee (Then I’ll Go)”, Claude Gray (#84, 1961)
Country singer Gray had a handful of top ten hits on the Country survey, this one going to #4. It was his only song to crossover to the pop survey, albeit in a limited fashion. He last made the top 40 on his home format in 1970.
“Another Cup Of Coffee”, Brook Benton (#47, 1964)
Benton was successful on the R&B and pop surveys between the late 50’s and early 70’s with songs like “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” (#3, 1959) and “The Boll Weevil Song” (#2, 1961), although this wasn’t a big hit on either chart. His last top 40 single was a 1970 ballad titled “Rainy Night In Georgia” (#4).
“My Cup Runneth Over”, Ed Ames (#8, 1967)
Ames, an adult standards singer, recorded a version of this Biblical-inspired song, going top ten on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The song originates from the 1966 musical I Do! I Do! Ames hit the top 40 once more in 1968 with an English translation of a Spanish song, “Who Will Answer?” (#19), but he continued to rank on the AC survey through 1970 to varying success.
“Paper Cup”, The 5th Dimension (#34, 1967)
Before the quintet from Los Angeles struck gold with two #1 singles, they struggled to get this song into the top 40. It was the followup to “Up, Up And Away”, which didn’t struggled at all and climbed to #7. Parent album The Magic Garden was a dud, failing to break the top 100 on the Billboard 200.
“The Cup Of Life (La Copa De La Vida)”, Ricky Martin (#60, 1998 / #45, 1999)
One of the more famous songs to come out of the World Cup (in this case, the 1998 FIFA World Cup), Martin’s song went to #60 on the Hot 100 in 1998. However, after “Livin’ La Vida Loca” soared to #1, “Life” was serviced back to radio and retail, going to #45 on the Hot 100 and top 30 at mainstream radio. Two versions, one recorded in English and one mixing English and Spanish, were both heard here.
“Drank In My Cup”, Kirko Bangz (#28, 2012)
This Texas rapper had one moderate single on the R&B survey before going top 5 with this hit, which also charted moderately on the Hot 100. It was certified Platinum for sales of 1 million copies. He is prepping for the release of his first studio album, Bigger Than Me, which is due out later this summer. A single from it should be available soon.
“Red Solo Cup”, Toby Keith (#15, 2012)
It’s perhaps one of the silliest songs to make the charts, but both the song and video went viral, and thus, radio had to pick up on it. It went to #9 on the Country chart. A version performed on Glee by Chord Overstreet went to #92 in late 2011. Keith’s label tried unsuccessfully to market the song to mainstream radio as a Spring Break anthem last year, but the format wasn’t sipping the Kool Aid.
In addition, two songs about the “buttercup” flower went top 40: “Pucker Up Buttercup” by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars from 1967 (#31) and the classic “Build Me Up Buttercup“, a #3 single for the The Foundations in 1969. Let’s not forget about the most successful “cup” act to hit the charts, The Dixie Cups. The trio had a handful of top 40 hits in the 60’s, including the #1 “Chapel Of Love” in 1964 and the first charting version of the song “Iko Iko” a year later (#20) which would also make the Hot 100 for Dr. John (#71, 1972) and The Belle Stars (#14, 1989).
Hope you enjoyed your fill of these poppin’ pieces and don’t forget to follow the blog below and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.