Don't Bring Me Down

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"Don't Bring Me Down"
Artwork for UK, Australian, and some other European vinyl releases
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album Discovery
B-side"Dreaming of 4000"
Released24 August 1979 (UK)[1][2]
GenrePop rock[3]
Songwriter(s)Jeff Lynne
Producer(s)Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology
"The Diary of Horace Wimp"
"Don't Bring Me Down"
"Confusion/Last Train to London"
Discovery track listing
9 tracks
Side one
  1. "Shine a Little Love"
  2. "Confusion"
  3. "Need Her Love"
  4. "The Diary of Horace Wimp"
Side two
  1. "Last Train to London"
  2. "Midnight Blue"
  3. "On the Run"
  4. "Wishing"
  5. "Don't Bring Me Down"
Music video
"Don't Bring Me Down" on YouTube

"Don't Bring Me Down" is the ninth and final track on the English rock band the Electric Light Orchestra's 1979 album Discovery. It is their highest-charting hit in the United States to date.


It's a great big galloping ball of distortion. I wrote it at the last minute, 'cause I felt there weren't enough loud ones on the album. This was just what I was after.

— Discovery remaster (2001), Jeff Lynne

"Don't Bring Me Down" is the band's second-highest-charting hit in the UK, where it peaked at number 3,[4] and their biggest hit in the United States, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5] It also charted well in Canada (number 1) and Australia (number 6). This was the first single by ELO not to include a string section.[6] Engineer Reinhold Mack claims that this was his idea, after Lynne did not know what they should record next, and that he encouraged Lynne to "just boogie out for a night."[7]

The drum track is in fact a tape loop, coming from "On the Run" looped and slowed down and then sped up;[6][8][7] Mack recalls that that Bevan was not interested in joining in the jam session that helped create the song; Mack decided to use a drum loop, and Lynne asked Mack to change the speed of the loop tape.

The song ends with the sound of a door slamming. According to producer Jeff Lynne, this was a metal fire door at Musicland Studios where the song was recorded.[6]

The song was dedicated to the NASA Skylab space station, which re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and burned up over the Indian Ocean and Western Australia on 11 July 1979.[6]

On 4 November 2007, Lynne was awarded a BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc) Million-Air certificate for "Don't Bring Me Down" for the song having reached two million airplays.

Misheard lyric[edit]

A common mondegreen in the song is the perception that, following the title line, Lynne shouts "Bruce!" In the liner notes of the ELO compilation Flashback and elsewhere, Lynne has explained that he is singing a made-up word, "Groos", which some have suggested sounds like the German expression "Gruß", meaning "greeting."[9][7] Lynne has explained that originally he did not realize the meaning of the syllable, and he just used it as a temporary placekeeper to fill a gap in the lyrics, but upon learning the German meaning he decided to leave it in.[9] After the song's release, so many people had misinterpreted the word as "Bruce" that Lynne actually began to sing the word as "Bruce" for fun at live shows.[10][11][9][12]

ELO engineer Reinhold Mack remembers the genesis of the term differently, stating that Lynne was actually singing "Bruce" as a joke in advance of an Australian tour "referring to how many Australian guys are called Bruce."[9][7] Mack stated that this was a temporary line, as "[they] couldn't leave it like that, so eventually we replaced it with 'Gruss,' based on the Bavarian greeting 'Gruß Gott," - 'greet God.' Gruss, not Bruce is what you hear in the song immediately following the title line."[7]

Critical reception[edit]

AllMusic's Donald Guarisco retrospectively praised ELO for not including a string section in the song: "Electric Light Orchestra can easily be summed up as 'pop music with strings.' Thus, it is pretty ironic that the group's biggest American hit, "Don't Bring Me Down", features no string section at all", adding that "it proved that Electric Light Orchestra could be just as interesting without the string section and thus paved the way for later string-less [sic] hits like "Hold On Tight" and "Calling America", concluding that it was a song that was "powerful enough for rock fans but dance-friendly enough for the disco set".[3] Billboard found the song to be Beatlesque while praising the multiple "irresistible" instrumental and vocal hooks.[13] Cash Box similarly described it as being influenced by the Beatles, particularly the song "You Can't Do That," and said that the song "brims with overdubbed Lynne harmonies and a pounding rhythm track."[14] Record World said that "From the opening drum blasts, through the harmony vocal/percussion break, to the echo-filled closing, this song rocks."[15] Ultimate Classic Rock rated "Don't Bring Me Down" as the 97th greatest classic rock song, saying it "may just be Jeff Lynne's most concise and representative musical statement."[16]

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced, which showed the band performing the song interspersed with various animations relating to the song's subject matter, including big-bottomed majorettes and a pulsating neon frankfurter. The band's three resident string players are depicted playing keyboards in the music video.

Jeff Lynne version[edit]

Jeff Lynne re-recorded the song in his own home studio. It was released on a compilation album with other re-recorded ELO songs called Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra.[17]


Partial credits from[6] and engineer Reinhold Mack.[7]

Cover versions and remixes[edit]

Chart and sales[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Electric Light Orchestra – Don't Bring Me Down" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b "British single certifications – ELO – Don't Bring Me Down". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  3. ^ a b Guarisco, Donald A. "Don't Bring Me Down – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Electric Light Orchestra – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Porter, Robert. "Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne -- Don't Bring Me Down: An in-depth song analysis". Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Buskin, Richard. "Classic Tracks: Electric Light Orchestra 'Don't Bring Me Down'". SoundOnSound. Sound On Sound. Retrieved 4 August 2023.
  8. ^ DeRiso, Nick (31 May 2019). "How Electric Light Orchestra Slimmed Down, Then Went Disco on 'Discovery'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d DeRiso, Nick (6 June 2019). "Why Did Jeff Lynne Add 'Bruce' to ELO's 'Don't Bring Me Down'?". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  10. ^ Wild, David. "The Story of a Rock and Roll Band and the Pop Genius Who Dared to Go Baroque". Flashback (Media notes).
  11. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (15 October 2014). "ELO's Jeff Lynne: 'All those hipsters with beards are copying me!'". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Jeff Lynne revisits his roots with ELO and classic covers projects". Goldmine. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  13. ^ "Billboard's Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. 4 August 1979. p. 55. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Singles Reviews > Feature Picks" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. XLI, no. 12. 4 August 1979. p. 13. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. 4 August 1979. p. 1. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Classic Rock Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra". Archived from the original on 27 October 2015.
  18. ^ Johnston, Maura (27 March 2012). "The Hives: Go Right Ahead". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  19. ^ Moss, Marissa R. (21 September 2017). "See Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves and Midland Cover ELO on 'Fallon'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra – Don't Bring Me Down" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6839a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  23. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra – Don't Bring Me Down" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  24. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Don't Bring Me Down". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Electric Light Orchestra - Don't Bring Me Down" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  26. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra – Don't Bring Me Down" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra – Don't Bring Me Down". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  28. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (E)". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  29. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  30. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra – Don't Bring Me Down". Swiss Singles Chart.
  31. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending SEPTEMBER 22, 1979". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 5 February 2011.
  32. ^ "Record World Singles" (PDF). Record World. 15 September 1979. p. 29. ISSN 0034-1622. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  33. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1970s". Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  34. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1979" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  35. ^ "1979 Top 200 Singles". RPM. Vol. 32, no. 13. 22 December 1979. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  36. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1979" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  37. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1979" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  38. ^ "End of Year Charts 1979". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  39. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1979". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  40. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1979". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012.
  41. ^ Webster, Allan (29 December 1979). "International Dateline > Australia" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. XLI, no. 33. p. 96. Retrieved 1 December 2021 – via World Radio History.
  42. ^ "American single certifications – Electric Light Orchestra – Don't Bring Me Down". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 28 April 2021.

External links[edit]