Meaning of “No Son of Mine” by Genesis

No Son of Mine is one of the most successful songs performed by the English rock band Genesis. The lyrics of the song narrate the story of a boy who is forced to run away from his home as a result of his abusive father. But having run away from home, at some point, the young boy reconsiders his actions and tries to go back home but is severely reprimanded by his furious father who goes as far as looking him straight in the eyes and disowning him. From the lyrics of the song, the listeners unfortunately never find out whether the boy or his mother is the one suffering the abuse from the father. In an interview Genesis lead singer Phil Collins had on Bob Coburn’s popular radio interview program Rockline, he said he and the other members of the band deliberately decided not to make it clear to the listeners who the victim of the abuse is. He however confirmed that the father of the young boy was the perpetrator of the abuse in the household.  In that same interview, Collins said that the story in the song is something that happens in many places and that a lot of people who hear the song identify with it.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Genesis's No Son of Mine at

So simply put, we can safely say that No Son of Mine is a song that deals with the issue of domestic abuse.

But is the song based on a true life event in the lives of any of the members of Genesis? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is one that we might never know since there are no known records of any of the members of Genesis (Phil Collins, Tony Banks or Mike Rutherford) experiencing domestic violence during their childhood years. Only time will tell, we guess!

No Son of Mine

Facts about “No Son of Mine” by Genesis

  • The song was written by Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford.
  • It was recorded in 1991 at the Fisher Lane Farm (also known as The Farm), which is the band’s major recording studio. The Farm can be found in Chiddingfold, Surrey, England.
  • The distinctive elephant-like sound that can be heard at the beginning of the song was created by Tony Banks. The band members refer to the sound as the “elephantus”.
  • The “elephantus” sound can also be heard on the Genesis song On the Shoreline.
  • “Elephantus” was the initial title that the band gave the song before finally settling on “No Son of Mine”.
  • Collins played the drums and sang both lead as well as backing vocals on the song.
  • The song was released on 21st October, 1991 as the first single from the band’s fourteenth studio album titled We Can’t Dance.
  • Being one of Genesis’ most successful songs, No Son of Mine did very well on the charts, peaking at number 1 on the Canadian Singles Chart, number 6 on the UK Singles Chart and number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100.


3 Responses

  1. s\teve says:

    Thanks for the info; was listening for the first time to the lyrics… and it’s been troubling me for a couple days.
    Thanks again

  2. Pugfather76 says:

    Amazing song, I remember growing up with a lot of violence in my family, not just my father but by the hands of my brothers to….I can relate with this song, so much emotion!

  1. August 1, 2017

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