Posts tagged ‘Cups’

January 30, 2013

The kinda dumb story of “the cup song”

by Me

Those of you older than 14 may not have heard the cup song, or heard of “Pitch Perfect.” The story of the cup song is simultaneously a wonderful allegory for the power of social media and the future of music, and proof that kids are, essentially, dumb.

From old-timey country ballad to tween sensation, the cup song has gone through some odd iterations — and most of the thousands of little girls currently annoying their parents by banging cups on desks and tables have no idea of the song’s origins.

This is the cup song, as performed by Anna Kendrick in the film “Pitch Perfect.”

That’s cool. But, wait — there’s this band from across the pond, Lulu and the Lampshades, who did an even better version of it, way, way back in 2009.

And, as Know Your Meme points out, the two, too-cute girls from Lulu got the cup beat from a different YouTube video, published more than a year earlier.

But, long before that — like 90 years before — Mainer’s Mountaineers recorded a country tune called “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”

Knowing the long and tortured history of “You’re Gonna Miss Me” isn’t dumb, and seeing how social media can turn a dusty, half-forgotten country tune into a tween mega-hit is fascinating. Do kids even care that Mainer’s Mountaineers recorded, nearly a century earlier, what would become a bit for Anna Kendrick on David Letterman? Probably not.

UPDATE: As a few commenters (see below) have mentioned, the cup beat portion is far older than we at Dumb Things previously thought.

The classic show “Full House” featured the “cup game” way back in season three, in 1989, as seen in the clip below.

But before that, Christian singer Rich Mullins played the cup game in 1987 to accompany his song, “Screen Door.”

Probably, though, the cup game is older than that. Was Mullins the first? If you know differently, leave a comment.

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