Sunday, February 7, 2010

ROCK Sex: "Don't Bring Me Down" - Ronnie Dawson > Electric Light Orchestra > Dazz Band > The Hives

ROCK Sex gives you the lowdown with no letdown.


"Don't Bring Me Down" was accidently the biggest smash hit Electric Light Orchestra ever had.

Leader Jeff Lynne melded together a lot of influences in this throwaway song that became a perennial classic.
  • The tune was created off -the-cuff in a German studio and the spare metallic drum loop hearkens to the influence of Kraftwerk.
  • The "downdowndadowndown" ad lib at the end recalls a similar one from "Who's been Here" (1961) by Commonwealth Jones, actually a psuedonym for young Rockabilly firebrand Ronnie Dawson.
  • The bassline recalls "I Can't Take No More" (1970) by Atomic Rooster.
  • There is a quiet structural similarity to "You Can't Do That" by The Beatles, particularly in the boogie vamp at the end.
  • Some of the harmonies on the chorus sound like The Bee Gees who were then at the height of their fame. And the "Oo-ee-hoo" recalls Little Richard.

Jeff threw in a made-up word, "grrooooosss", for harmony. Since it was done in Germany it was first mistaken for a similar German word for 'greeting'. But everyone else in the world mishead it as "don't bring me down, Bruce", which Jeff cheekily sings now in concert.

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA -"Don't Bring Me Down" (1979)

THE DAZZ BAND was inspired to their name by the song "Dazz" ('disco jazz') by Brick. For this great hit they also adopted Devo's robotic Funk and just may have borrowed the signature "oo-ee-hoo" from Jeff:

THE DAZZ BAND -"Let It Whip" (1982)

Recently the ELO song has been covered by OK GO and The New Pornographers.

The Dazz Band song was covered by Boyz II Men, SR-71, and in Cantonese by George Lam of Hong Kong!

The ELO song is also the clear inspiration for this song, with some Chuck Berry/Glam swagger in it.

THE HIVES -"Go Right Ahead" (2012)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

1 comment:

reverendflash said...

The Cars kinda took from the same Atomic Rooster song that ELO did. Listen how similar the lead vocals and rhythm guitar are in the verses of both 'I Can't Take No More' and The Cars' 'Bye Bye Love'.