As I’ve been working from home, I’ve had a bit more time to listen to whole albums, but what prompted this post was actually a song we have in regular rotation on the Point, ELO’s Don’t Bring Me Down. There’s a line where it sounds like Jeff Lynne is singing “Don’t bring me down...Bruce”. Except the word isn’t Bruce, it’s a made up word, “groos”.
Lynne has said in the past that he used it sort of as a placeholder while he was writing, but then he found out the word “groos” is like the German word “Gruß,” which means “greeting”. The band recorded the album at the Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany, so it’s a word Lynne probably heard before. Once he found out what it meant, he decided to leave it. Now sometimes he sings “Bruce” during live shows, since the crowds are singing it.
So after falling down that rabbit hole of research, I decided to listen to the rest of the album, and do a little more digging.
“Don’t Bring Me Down” is the final track on the album Discovery, released in 1979. Another piece of trivia for you, the back cover features an 18-year old Brad Garret (yes, the guy from Everybody Loves Raymond) as the scimitar wielding, turban-wearing guard.
The album itself has a very disco feel to it. In fact Richard Tandy, co-founder of the group, allegedly referred to the album as Disco Very. It still became their first album to hit number one on the UK charts, and eventually hit number five on the Billboard Hot 200 in the US.
The other notable thing about the album is the absence of strings. The album was the band’s first to not feature their string trio, lending the album an even more synth-disco sound. Since Don’t Bring Me Down is also ELO’s biggest hits in the US, let’s feature it here.