Don’t Bring Me Down – 2012

“Don’t Bring Me Down” is the ninth and final track on the Electric Light Orchestra’s 1979 album Discovery. It is their highest charting hit in the US to date.

It’s a great big galloping ball of distortion. I wrote it at the last minute, ‘cos 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 and their biggest hit in the United States, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also charted well in Canada (number 1) and Australia (number) 6. This was the first song by ELO not to include a string section.

The drum track is in fact a tape loop, coming from “On the Run” looped and slowed down.

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.

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

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

A common mondegreen in the song is the perception that, following the title line, Lynne shouts “Bruce!” According to the liner notes of the ELO compilation Flashback, he is saying a made-up lyric, “Grroosss,” which some have suggested sounds like the southern German expression “Grüß Gott.” 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.

Music video

A music video for the song was produced, which showed video of 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

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

Cover versions, samplings and remixes

In 1998, punk rock band J Church recorded a version that appears on the Mailorder Is Fun compilation released by Asian Man Records.
In 1998, North Carolina sludge metal band Buzzov•en covered the song on their album …At a Loss.
In 2001, Op:l Bastards covered the song as a single.
In 2003, Status Quo covered the song on their album Riffs.
In 2005, Parthenon Huxley covered the song on his Homemade Spaceship album. Huxley’s version is a Goons-ish sendup featuring ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt (credited as Jelly Donut) on spoken vocals and ELO violinist Mik Kaminski (credited as Poppadom Screech) on violin.
In 2006, L.E.O. includes a shortened cover of the song as a hidden track on their album Alpacas Orgling.
In 2006, J-pop band PUFFY (a.k.a. Puffy AmiYumi) have a cover of the song featured on the B-side of their single “Hataraku Otoko”.
In 2007, Finnish symphonic metal supergroup Northern Kings covered the song on their album Reborn.
In 2010, Donna Loren covered the song on her album Love It Away.
In 2012, The Hives released a song called “Go Right Ahead”. Though not a direct cover, the main riff in the song is nearly identical to the one in “Don’t Bring Me Down”,
In 2015, Indie Band Hippo Campus covered the song for the YouTube channel The A.V. Club. and as a result Jeff Lynne was officially credited as a co-writer.
OK Go performed the song and released on their Live From SoHo EP in 2007.

The New Pornographers have covered this song in various concerts.

Jungle Brothers sample the song on “Because I Got It Like That” from their debut album Straight out the Jungle in 1988.
“Don’t Bring Me Down” was remixed by Remix Artist Collective member Karl Kling.