ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down

This is one of the songs that got me into ELO. I always thought Jeff Lynne was singing “Bruuucee” in this song but he wasn’t. Jeff Lynne repeatedly sings the word “gruss” after the song’s title line? Apparently, it was a made-up place-keeper word to fill a gap in the vocals when he was improvising the lyrics.

When the German engineer Reinhold Mack heard the ELO frontman’s demo he asked Lynne how he knew “Gruss” means “greetings” in his country’s language. Upon learning the German meaning, Lynne decided to leave it in. Many fans misinterpreted “gruss” as “Bruce.” In fact, so many people misheard the lyric that Lynne actually began to sing the word as “Bruce” for fun at live shows.

The song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #3 in the UK, #1 in Canada, and #6 in New Zealand in 1979. The song was on the Discovery album which peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1979.

 

From Songfacts

This was the first ELO song that did not use strings. After recording it, they fired their string section, leaving four members in the band.

This is the highest-charting ELO hit in both the UK and US, although ELO’s “Xanadu” collaboration with Olivia Newton-John did hit #1 UK. 

ELO leader Jeff Lynne wrote this song late in the sessions for the Discovery album. He came up with the track by looping the drums from a song he recorded earlier in the session, then coming up with more music on the piano. The words came last, as Lynne put together some lyrics about a girl who thinks she’s too good for the guy she’s with.

As a little joke, Lynne put a count-in at the beginning of the song, even though there was nobody he was counting in.

This turned out to be a good theme song for astronauts enjoying their time in space. The song was played to astronauts on the Space Shuttle Columbia as their wake up call on July 6, 1996 – they were in flight longer than expected because of bad weather on the ground. ELO’s record company also tried to tie in the song with the Skylab space station, which crashed to Earth on July 11, 1979 after six years in space. They placed ads in trade magazines promoting the new single “Don’t Bring Me Down” by dedicating it to Skylab.

This appears in the 2006 Doctor Who episode “Love & Monsters,” and in the 2012 Family Guy episode “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” It has also been used in these films:

I Can Only Imagine (2018)
Super 8 (2011)
College Road Trip (2008)
The In-Laws (2003)
Donnie Brasco (1997)

In 2020, this was used in a Peloton commercial where a dad tries to stay motivated using the fitness bike. It was also used in the trailer for the 2017 film The Emoji Movie.

Don’t Bring Me Down

You got me runnin’ goin’ out of my mind
You got me thinkin’ that I’m wastin’ my time
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

You wanna stay out with your fancy friends
I’m tellin’ you it’s got to be the end
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

Don’t bring me down, gruss
Don’t bring me down, gruss
Don’t bring me down, gruss
Don’t bring me down

What happened to the girl I used to know?
You let your mind out somewhere down the road
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

You’re always talkin’ ’bout your crazy nights
One of these days you’re gonna get it right
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

Don’t bring me down, gruss
Don’t bring me down, gruss
Don’t bring me down, gruss
Don’t bring me down

You’re lookin’ good just like a snake in the grass
One of these days you’re gonna break your glass
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

You got me shakin’ got me runnin’ away
You got me crawlin’ up to you everyday
(Don’t bring me down, no no no no no)
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
(Don’t bring me down)

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down”

  1. I always enjoyed ELO. I loved the fact that they incorporated strings into their music. I Always loved that they had the strings playing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony at the beginning of Roll Over Beethoven. Some of their stuff was a bit out there, but they had plenty of hits I jam to!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is their highest charting song?? They’ve had so many good ones, it’s hard to believe. Also neat to learn about their collaboration with Olivia Newton-John on Xanadu! ELO always brings me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like ELO a lot, and that song is no exception. I always figured he was saying “Bruce” though… figured maybe it was an inside joke or something with someone in the studio or at the record company though I never thought a whole lot about it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I forgot about that! Right there in your back yard, and you had tickets. I hope you get another chance to see them. A road trip might be involved, but maybe not too far. And no more kidney stones. That must have been awful.

        Liked by 1 person

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