Holy Mother of God
You've got to go faster than that to get to the top.
Dirty old mountain
All covered in smoke, she can turn you to stone
So you better start doing it right
Better start doing it right.

You're halfway up and you're halfway down
And the pack on your back is turning you around.
Throw it away, you won't need it up there, and remember
You don't look back whatever you do.
Better start doing it right.

On your left and on your right
Crosses are green and crosses are blue
Your friends didn't make it through.
Out of the night and out of the dark
Into the fire and into the fight
Well that's the way the heroes go, Ho! Ho! Ho!

Through a crack in Mother Earth,
Blazing hot, the molten rock
Spills out over the land.
And the lava's the lover who licks your boots away. Hey! Hey! Hey!
If you don't want to boil as well.
Be-be-better start the dance
D-D-Do you want to dance with me.

The music's playing, the notes are right
Put your left foot first and move into the light.
The edge of this hill is the edge of the world
And if you're going to cross you better start doing it right
Better start doing it right.

Let the dance begin.

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

Dance On a Volcano Lyrics as written by Phil Collins Anthony George Banks


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Dance On A Volcano song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationThis song has always spoken to me about the decision to commit to something big: things that people around you have tried and failed at ("your friends didn't make it through"), things that you might fail at ("if you don't want to boil as well"), things that require supreme effort ("if you're going to cross you better start doing it right"), things that will change your life whether you succeed or fail ("the edge of this hill is the edge of the world"). Or about asking a girl for a dance the first time. I don't know. But I prefer the first interpretation.
    MrFreezyon October 11, 2010   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningThis has always been one of my favorite Genesis songs. I freaked out a little bit when I was reading about World War I, and the text mentioned types of nerve gas artillery shells being 'blue crosses' and 'green crosses' : worldwar1.com/…. I thought then that this entire song must be an allegory for the hell of trench warfare. Then again, maybe not.
    fftmon December 07, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSeems to be like the title says "Dance on a volcano"
    but i wonder if in the lyrics there is a hidden lesson for life
    enriquedelayeurreaon November 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment''Crosses are green and crosses are blue''

    What exactly is the meaning of this line? I've been wondering about this for awhile now.
    IonStaron August 11, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, there's a French proverb that, translated, is "Don't dance on a volcano.' The meaning of which is basically the same as Don't Skate on Thin Ice/Don't Tempt the gods/Don't Play with Fire

    So mostly the song, to me, is about taking risks, and if you're going to, you better "do it right" or the volcano will get the best of you, as it has some of your friends.

    The best lyric in the song though, has to be "the lava's the lover who licks your boots away."
    Domino427on July 24, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBased on the comments above, I looked up blue and green crosses. And they were indeed nicknames for two types of gasses used in chemical warfare in WWI. I felt it became really profound based on the French proverb mentioned about "Don't dance on a volcano" being not tempting fate, with the French being involved in trench warfare --- into the fire and into the fight, through a crack / trench in mother earth.

    I'm not saying anything definitively. At least for me, that was a "holy crap!" moment. In addition to the allegory, I read this as you have to take risks and dare to do brave things.
    jrandomon April 09, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a great example of Genesis' beginning transition from the Gabril era to the Collins era. While the song was written and composed by Banks and Rutherford, it's clear that synth, rather than guitar and "real" drums, were being experimented. The song's not a throwaway, has some very creative elements, and is better than much of the Collins-penned music (I don't hate the guy, but he definitely wanted to take things in the pop direction), it's not the pinnacle of the album either.
    pushthebuttonfrankon September 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd love this to be a song purely about someone who wants to dance on a volcano, I mean, hasn't everyone at some stage!

    To me though the meaning is all about taking risks to get to a place you really want to be.
    proggieon November 03, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPhil Collins didn't write this song, but I can totally see it as being about him taking over the position as lead singer from Peter Gabriel, who'd left the band.
    numb3r5ev3non March 16, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about "going over the top" in WWI Blue crosses and Green crosses refers to the markings on the shells of poison gas shells; the pack on your back is turning you round refers to the soldiers who carried their packs being slowed down during the charge. Crack in Mother Earth referring to trenches...the clincher for me was towards the end of the song you can hear a whistle being blown..whistles were used to signal the charge because they were easier to hear in the din of battle....
    noodlenogginson June 18, 2015   Link

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