August 1979: Electric Light Orchestra Release "Don't Bring Me Down"

LONDON - 1st MAY: Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) perform on the set of a video shoot to promote singles from the album 'Discovery' in May 1979. Left to right: Mik Kaminski, Melvyn Gale, Jeff Lynne and Hugh McDowell. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
Photo Credit
(Fin Costello/Redferns)

It was on August 7, 1979, when the Electric Light Orchestra released the third single from the band's eighth album, Discovery. Let's look back with five fun facts.

RELATED: January 1973: ELO Releases "Roll Over Beethoven"

1. It still stands as ELO's highest-charting song in America.
When it was dropped as a single, "Don't Bring Me Down" was an instant hit, quickly cruising all the way to #4 on the Hot 100 for the week of September 8, 1979. The #1 song in the country that week: The Knack's "My Sharona."

2. The lyric is "Grroosss," not "Bruce."
“You know that little daft bit in there that goes [unintelligible]," singer Jeff Lynne said on VH1's Storytellers. "I just made it up in the studio. It was actually ‘groose,’ which happens to mean something. The engineer was German, and he said ‘How did you know that word?’ And I said: ‘What word?’ And he said ‘Groose… it means greetings in German.’ I said: “That’s good… I’ll leave it in. We started going on tour and every time we played [it] everyone used to sing ‘Bruce,’ so I said ‘Ah, f*ck it, I’ll sing Bruce as well’!” Watch him tell the story of recording the song to SirusXM with an added Bruce Willis reference below.


3."Don't Bring Me Down" was the last song written for the Discovery album.
"It's a great big galloping ball of distortion," he explained in the album's remastered edition. "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."

4. The song has been played on the radio well over two million times.
In 2007, Lynne was given a BMI Million-Air certificate for "Don't Bring Me Down" for the song to commemorate the occasion.

5. "Don't Bring Me Down" arrived with a slick music video
MTV was still a couple of years from hitting the cable airwaves, and fully produced music videos were still something of a rarity in the industry. That didn't stop Lynne and company from having a lavish clip made for the hit single, featuring the band in performance interspersed with animated images of ELO's famous mothership logo.

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