Meaning of “Abacab” by Genesis

“Abacab” is a song performed by the internationally renowned English band Genesis. Upon the release of the song in the early 1980s, many assumed “Abacab” was an actual word (a proper noun). A number of Genesis fans even confessed to consulting the English dictionary in an attempt to find out if the word existed there and what it meant.

What really is the meaning of Abacab?

The truth of the matter is that “Abacab” isn’t any word that you can find in the dictionary and it has no meaning. The title of the song was gotten while the band was working on the earlier version of the song. According to Genesis guitarist, Mike Rutherford, he and the other members of the band (Phil Collins and Tony Banks) labeled the sections of the earlier version of the song with the alphabets A,B, and C with “A” referring to the “verse”, “B” referring to the “chorus” and “C” referring to the “bridge”. So the initial structure of the song was in the order: A-B-A-C-A-B.


However, by the time the band had come out with the final and complete version of the song to be released to the public, the structure had changed from the A-B-A-C-A-B format to a different format, but despite the change, the band members decided to stick with “Abacab” as the song’s title.

With regard to the actual meaning of Abacab, not even the band members know what it means. The lead singer of Genesis, Phil Collins said during rehearsals for the band’s 2007 reunion tours, he was forced to take the song out of the set because he didn’t know what the song was about.

Facts about “Abacab”

  • The song was written by all three members of Genesis (Collins, Rutherford and Banks).
  • The title of the song “Abacab” is meaningless.
  • The song was released on 14th August, 1981 as the first of the four singles from the band’s eleventh studio album, which is also titled “Abacab”.
  • Peaking at number 9 on the UK Singles chart and number 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the song remains one of the most successful singles to be released by Genesis.
  • The horn noises at the tail end of the instrumental section of the song, is played by The Phenix Horns (formerly known as EWF Horns). However, the Phenix Horns weren’t credited for that.

9 Responses

  1. Russell says:

    I was watching a tattoo show and ACAB was a prison tat that meant All Cops Are Bastards. A B, well we know what that stands for. Not saying one had to do with the other but that’s why I was looking to see if there was a meaning behind it.

  2. Ashley Squishy says:

    In Street Baglian, it means “the pompetus of love”.

  3. Linda says:

    Ashley, OMG that is too funny! An actual LOL! I was thinking maybe In a Gadda Da Vida….Hee-hee.

  4. c says:

    some of Queens lyrics have no meaning either..Bizmeelah

  5. Ed says:

    Susudio doesn’t mean anything, too!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well it’s not entirely meaningless if it refers to song structure eh? Even if the final structure was different (ABABCAB?)

  7. P.E.D. says:

    Genesis was very instrumental during my last 2 years of college, prior to graduation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like...