Meaning of “Lorenzo” by Phil Collins

“Lorenzo” is a song recorded and performed by the iconic English singer/songwriter Phil Collins. The lyrics of “Lorenzo” are about a boy named Lorenzo Odone whose entire life was plagued by the incurable illness adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). Owing to his ALD, which he was diagnosed with when he was just 6 years old, Lorenzo was left almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak. The only way he could communicate with his parents was by moving his fingers and blinking his eyes.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Phil Collins's Lorenzo at

Young Lorenzo gained international stardom after being portrayed in the 1992 Academy nominated drama film Lorenzo’s Oil. In the film, he was played by American writer and actor Zack O’Malley Greenburg.

Despite doctors giving Lorenzo only a few years to live, he went on to make significant improvements and live several years longer thanks to the highly controversial oil (Lorenzo’s oil) his parents used in treating him. Lorenzo’s story greatly inspired millions of people across the world.

Lorenzo eventually died on May 30, 2008 at the age of 30 – more than 20 years longer than doctors expected him to survive.

How Phil Collins got involved in Lorenzo’s story

Lorenzo’s mother Michaela Odone had been working with him for a number of years trying to put his beautiful life into a poem and eventually music. Lorenzo wanted only Phil Collins to sing his song because he was his hero.

Lyrics of "Lorenzo"

Facts about “Lorenzo”

  • The song was written by Phil Collins alongside Michaela Odone. Collins wrote the music whereas Odone penned the lyrics.
  • Collins and his longtime collaborator Hugh Padgham handled the song’s production.
  • “Lorenzo” is the third track from Collins’ sixth solo studio album titled Dance into the Light. The album was released on October 21st, 1996.
  • No music video was made for this song.
  • The track’s backing vocals were provided by American singers Arnold McCuller and Amy Keys. Both McCuller and Keys are longtime collaborators of Collins’.
  • Lorenzo Odone, who this track is about, died about two years after the song came out.

Below is Phil Collins performing “Lorenzo” live in Paris in 1997 during his worldwide concert tour The Trip into the Light World Tour:


Did Phil release this track as a single?


Did Collins perform “Lorenzo” live during his famous concert tour Not Dead Yet Tour?

No. It wasn’t included in the setlist of the Not Dead Yet Tour.

More Songs from Phil Collins

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