Don't Bring Me Down

Album: Discovery (1979)
Charted: 3 4


  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Richard - Vancouver, BC
  • 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.
  • Wondering why Jeff Lynne repeatedly sings the word "groose" 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 "groose" 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.
  • 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.
  • In one of his earliest gigs, Brad Garrett, star of long-running TV comedy Everybody Loves Raymond, can be seen in Arabian garb on the inner sleeve of the Discovery album.

Comments: 47

  • Margarita from West Central OhWell, he’s singing to a girl, her name is Ruth. Rolling r’s......rrrrrrrruth! Don’t bring me down, Rrrrrrrrruth! Make sense?
  • Melinda from AustraliaI remember the album this song comes from was highly anticipated. As we had heard Don’t Bring Me Down on the radio. And couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. Our toe tappin disco feet went wild in the lounge room to this song in the late 70’s. It’s jus so good. Also Last Train To London was excellent too. So has anyone else worked out Livin Thing, by ELO is an anti abortion song. I always sensed it was. Maybe.
  • Add from Nyc"groos" is made up word he created.
  • Seventhmist from 7th Heaven(From Wikipedia) The sound at the end is that of a door slamming. According to Jeff Lynne, it was a metal fire door at Musicland Studios, where the song was recorded.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaWhy do they say, "gross!" during the refrain?
  • Guy from UsaThese guys are good, but they sure aren't as good as Bruce Springsteen.
  • Alan from Joliet, IlI'm still trying to fathom why I disliked this single when it was out. My wife (from Venezuela, age nine at the time of the single's release) and I re-listened to the Discovery LP a few months ago. We were thinking, oh, dear, plastic disco pop, then "Don't Bring Me Down" came on and she lit up. It was a hit in VENEZUELA, for God's sake. It's just a great song!
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI had a friend named Bruce at the time this came out who was pleased to (he thought) finally hear his name used in a song.
  • Claire from Colorado Springs, CoThis is a great song, no matter if theyre saying GRUS or BRUCE!!! If anyones seen the movie Super 8 that's in theaters right now, this song is frequently used.
  • Kevin from London, United KingdomThe "Grossss" sounds a similar situation to "Yellow", by Coldplay, where they couldn't think of the word they needed to use so used another of the same length and number of syllables, and sung that instead. By the the time the song was finished they had got used to "yellow", couldn't think of anything else, and left it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1966 the British band The Animals released a completely different record titled "Don't Bring Me Down", it peaked at No. 12...
  • Preston from Hartford, CtGRUS,BRUCE...who cares it's a great song !
  • Micky from Los Angeles, Cawhat about "Strange Magic"...wasn't that ELO?
  • Tim from Gainesville, FlOk, having seen Jaws in 1974 and reading somewhere that the nickname for the mechanical shark they used while filming was "Bruce" this song made total sense to me when I first heard it in 1979.

    "Don't bring me down, Bruce" was a plea to the shark not to be eaten...brilliant!
  • Allie from Evanston, IlDoes anyone know what "grus" (sounds like Bruce) means in the lyrics?
  • Mitch from Crown Point, InI fell in love with ELO thanks to this song. The lyrics are a bit awkward, but so what. Just don't understand that cosmic hot dog in the video.
  • Caitlin from Southbury, Ctwow. I have no idea what those two guys are talking about when they say this isn't one of the better songs. I've been listening to this song since I was a toddler and I still love it and it never gets old.
  • Marius from Zurich, SwitzerlandThis was Number 2 in the Swiss-Charts in 1979.
  • Dan2313g from Bay City, MiI can't believe that there is such negativity towards this song. I only like two ELO songs (the other is Mr.Blue Sky) and there is supposedly better ELO songs?!?
  • Jeff from Parksville, KySam and Brian are to be ignored. This song is GREAT!
  • Tony from Chicago, IlThis song kicks ass!!!!!!!!!! I love that album too!
  • Louise from Newcastle, United KingdomHaha! I've always asumed it was 'Bruce!'. Anyway...I love this song.
  • Brian from Medway, OhI've been a big fan of ELO for thirty years, but unfortunately this is not one of my favorites, nor one I'd include on a list of their better tunes. I personally feel they began to slip when they tried their hand at dance-type tunes.
  • Sam from Lincoln, NeELO recorded some great songs. Then they recorded this piece of crap, which along with Xanadu represents the low water mark of their career. One of the most godawful songs of all time.
  • Carl from Baltimore, Mdgreat song from satrt to finish....takes one back to summer of 79....endless tune and quite enjoyable to music fans young and old!
  • Christopher from Nashville, TnIt was parents wrote down that as a baby I could be calmed down by listening to ELO. This is probably my 2nd favorite song by them. I think this band as a whole is quite underrated.
  • Judy from Enid, OkI absolutely love this's so amazing!!
  • Max from Laconia, NhELO=masters of the rock/orchestra. awsome jam
  • Ron from Auburndale, FlI still sing "Bruce" even though I know it's not the true lyric. Just a habit I can't break...
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaAlso, there are synthesised strings on just about every ELO album as well. (They used plenty of both). On their last album in the 80s, Balance of Power, I don't think there are any real strings at all. Generally you don't hear the bows scraping on the strings and you don't get that airy sound when it's synthesized, it just (1) adds a shimmering sound to the music (Roland String Machine, ARP String Machine), or (2) it sounds nasally and dark like on "I Am The Walrus" by the Beatles (Mellotron) or, (3) it sounds like something is playing 'backwards' (Prophet 5 synthesisers and Oberheims were good at those sounds).
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaNonsense! Just read the album credits for Xanadu, Time, Secret Messages - ALL have real strings. Your EARS should be able to tell you that, as far as that goes. A string synthesiser does not sound identical to real strings, at least not yet. There are no strings on "Balance of Power", afaik.
  • Chris from Chicago, IlAwesome song! I totally agree Jeff Lynne is severley underrated!
  • Grace from Conway, Ari'd love to read songfacts about "telephone line" and "sweet talkin' woman". i've liked ELO since my teens. btw, i'm just quiet when they say grüss.:) just habit cos i didn't know what they were saying initially.
  • David from San Francisco, CaThey didn't fire their string section after recording this song. Beginning in 1975, they started using a full orchestra for recording. By 1976, it's all they used.

    So the 3 string players became concert-only performers, and weren't even playing on ELO albums by the time of Don't Bring Me Down. That's easily verified too: Lynne says this in the liner notes to their first Greatest Hits album from 1979 - the same year as Don't Bring Me Down.

    And after the Discovery tour, ELO only did one more tour - Time in 1981. For that album and tour, Lynne didn't want to use as much strings - so for the tour, it didn't make sense to use 3 string players. They went with keyboards only.

    Even after that, one of the 3 string players - Mik Kamanski - played on their next album, Secret Messages. So it's not like they were fired due to the success of this song - Lynne just didn't want to use strings all the time anymore.
  • Laura from Oshawa, Canadapersonslly i love this song... i first heard it when driving down to florida with my family... my sisters and i didn't have the lyrics, so we just screamed "BRUCEE", and it was fun...
  • Damaramu from Houston, TxThe drums on "Don't Bring Me Down" are actually a slowed down and looped drum segment from another song on the album Discovery, On The Run.
  • Benn from Arcola, IlThe opening drum riffs on this song are identical to the opening drum riffs on the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Reprise".
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScRe: The Robert Johnson comment: this song is more similar to the Rolling Stones cover than the Robert Johnson original.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnLiquid Len: Those were actually synthesizers they used on later albums, not orchestras. In fact, their switch to synths is considered by many fans to be the point where ELO "jumped the shark".
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI dont think this song is the same as the Robert Johnson one, but they do sound similar now that you mension it who knows. I would have to look at the lyrics of both.
  • Pepper from Virginia Beach, Vajeff lynne is so underrated
  • Thomas from Hamburg, GermanyActually, the German expression is "Grüss dich", which means "Greetings to you".
  • York from KyotoThis song reminds me of the old Robert Johnson blues tune "Stop Breaking Down," which was covered by the Stones on Exile on Main Street. Is it not the same song?
  • Jeremy from Winner, SdActually the word Jeff Lynne was referring to is German and is actually a phrase "Gross dich" which means Hello in German.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaI don't know about the firing their 'string section' bit. The full time members of the band that played strings are on subsequent albums. And they hired orchestras to play on tracks on subsequent albums as well.
  • Jack from Port St, Lucie, FlIn VH-1 Storytellers in 2001, Jeff Lynne told the story that he had origninally and unknowingly placed the word "grus"(?)which he learned means "greetings" in German and decided to leave it in the song. The story went on that at every concert, everyone would always sing, "Bruce!" and he ended up doing the same.
  • Shell from Kansas City, KsBased on the liner notes of the vinyl album, and contrary to what virtually every lyric site shows, they do not say "don't bring me down BRUCE", it is "Don't bring me down, GROOOOOOSSSSS" pronounced to rhyme with Bruce.
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