Meaning of Cups (When I’m Gone) & The Story Behind

Jason Moore’s comedy musical Pitch Perfect was released in 2012. In the audition scene, the main character, played by actress Anna Kendrick, sang the song Cups a cappella. The highlight of the performance was the masterful use of a plastic cup as percussion. The track was a resounding success, rose high in the charts and made hundreds of thousands of fans want to master the unusual accompaniment.

And only a few music lovers remembered that the composition was born long before the aforementioned film, and before it was performed by many musicians. Moreover, it was by no means Anna Kendrick who first began to famously beat the rhythm with a glass. Let’s trace the key milestones in the history of the Cups song.

The story of Cups (When I’m Gone)

When I'm Gone

Her long road to fame began with the ballad When I’m Gone by Alvin Pleasant Carter (APCarter), which was performed in 1931 by the American folk group Carter Family. The original version was somewhat different from the modern Cups, but still the similarities between them are obvious.

Note that over the thirty years of creative activity, the famous team released many hits, which are now country standards, but this composition was not a resounding success.

By the way, don’t confuse When I’m Gone with the song Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?, which has also been in the Carter Family’s repertoire since 1928. These are different pieces of music.

In 1937 violinist Joseph Emmett Miner and JE Mainer’s Mountaineers released a cover version of the song called Miss Me When I’m Gone.

Around the same time, a very similar version was performed by country musician Charlie Monroe.

Then When I’m Gone was forgotten for a long time. In any case, none of the popular musicians recorded it.

In 2007, she sounded in the film Dan in Real Life (“Fall in love with brother’s bride”). A couple of years later, a video of the British band Lulu and The Lampshades appeared on YouTube, which for the first time used the notorious cups in the track When I’m Gone.

Of course, the idea of ​​beating the rhythm in this way is far from new and has been widely used since ancient times in many folk songs. However, it was the girls from Lulu and The Lampshades who first thought of performing this composition in this style. The people called their cover The Cup Song.

Then there was a version of the song from Anna Burden, which was very popular and was even awarded the publication on the main page of Reddit.

When I’m Gone in Pitch Perfect

But worldwide fame and wild popularity overtook the song when Anna Kendrick performed it in the movie Pitch Perfect. Let’s see her character’s audition scene.

The actress admitted that she learned to accompany with cups after hearing Anna Burden’s version. When the screenwriters of the film saw how skillfully she did it, they immediately decided that this scene should definitely be included in the musical.

And after a live performance of the song on the television show Letterman, Anna Kendrick finally captivated the audience.

The single was released as an extended version of the track Cups, which features additional instruments. It peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Adult Contemporary chart.

Video of When I’m Gone

Watch the official music video for Cups below. It was directed by Jason Moore, director of Pitch Perfect.

Interesting Facts

  • In 2013, Anna Kendrick’s song was the official track for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Cups (When I’m Gone) lyrics

I got my ticket for the long way ’round
Two bottles of whiskey for the way
And I sure would like some sweet company
And I’m leaving tomorrow, what do you say

When I’m gone
When I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my hair
You’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
When I’m gone
When I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone
You’re gonna miss me by my walk
You’re gonna miss me by my talk, oh
You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ’round
The one with the prettiest of views
It’s got mountains, it’s got rivers, it’s got sights to give you shivers
But it sure would be prettier with you

Lyrics of Cups (When I’m Gone) Alternate

I bought a ticket to go far
Taking a couple of bottles of whiskey on the road
Of course, I will not refuse a pleasant company
I’m leaving tomorrow, what do you say?

When I leave
When I leave
You will miss me when I leave
You will miss my hair
You will miss me everywhere, oh
You will miss me when I leave
When I leave
When I leave
You will miss me when I leave
You will miss my walk
You will miss my voice, oh
You will miss me when I leave

I bought a ticket to go far
And the most beautiful scenery awaits me
With mountains, rivers and breathtaking views
But if you were there, they would be prettier

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