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This track from the Pitch Perfect soundtrack features the voice of Anna Kendrick accompanied only by a plastic cup, which she uses as improvised percussion. The song serves as her character Beca's brief audition for the Barden Bellas, an all-female a cappella group from Barden University.
The song is just one minute seventeen seconds long, but isn't the shortest ever to grace the Hot 100. The Womenfolk's version of "Little Boxes
," which peaked at #83 in 1964, lasts a mere one minute and two seconds.
The origins of this song lie in the 1937 Appalachian Folk recording "Miss Me When I'm Gone" by J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers. The tune was reworked by English act Lulu and the Lampshades as "Cups (You're Gonna Miss Me)" and this version was covered by Anna Burden, whose adaptation made it to the front page of the entertainment website, Reddit. Kendrick decided to learn the song after watching Burden's cover. "'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 David Letterman in October 2012.
A longer version (a whole 2:09 minutes!) featuring instrumentation was released to radio in March 2013.
This song's success meant that Kendrick became only the second artist to have earned both a top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and nominations in the two leading acting award ceremonies. The singer-actress was nominated for a 1998 Tony Award for featured actress in a musical (High Society) and the 2009 Academy Award for actress in a supporting role (Up in the Air). The only other performer to achieve the same feat is Barbra Streisand.
The band played this song when Kendrick came on stage at the Oscars in 2014 to present the award for Best Editing.
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