John Farnham’s “Age of Reason” Lyrics Meaning

The Age of Reason, in a historical sense, was a period in the Western World which began in the late 17th century and ended in the early 19th century. 

The titular term may mean different things to different people concerning their respective knowledge of the era mentioned.  But in the modern world in its barest, most-macrocosmic sense it points to the idea of forskaing your forefathers way of thinking, which may be based more on tradition and religious dogma, and embracing one that is rather centered on reason.

Or rather let’s say that as far as the term “age of reason” goes, it is the word “reason” which is most open to interpretation.  And the way the vocalist understands it is as said era leading to people ‘loving each other’ more. 

So the implication is that the “fathers” of he and his generation were too caught up in their own ways to be compassionate to those who were different from them. But now with the “age of reason” at hand, it is possible to overcome those prejudices and adopt a more-constructive, edifying way of thinking. 

Indeed as the singer perceives it, such is the next evolutionary stage in social thought, so to speak. That is to say that adopting such a disposition is just as beneficial to the practitioner as it is to the recipient.

An Ideal World

So conclusively, the lyrics of John Farnham’s “Age of Reason” can be said to reflect the singer’s vision of an ideal world. 

Under his estimation, the earlier generation did not get it right. Or put differently, they did not possess the basic attribute of “kindness”, which is important to our overall wellbeing. But in the “age of reason”, such is practiced freely and commonly amongst mankind.

Lyrics of "Age of Reason"

Music Video

The music video to this track features Australia’s Victoria Children’s Choir.

John Farnham

John Farnham, aka Farnsey, is an artist whom many of us outside of Oceania may not have heard of before. But he is actually one of the most-successful singers in Australian history. Furthermore, in that lofty regard, he is recognized as one of the longest-tenured. 

In fact as of the year 2000, he holds the distinction of being the only Australian musician in history to score number ones in the Land Down Under every decade over a five-decade timespan (from the 1960s to the 2000s). 

Said number ones include songs such as of “Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)” (1967) and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (1970) as well as the albums “Chain Reaction” (1990) and “The Last Time” (2002). 

In fact Farnsey is such an accomplished musician in his part of the world that there’s even a statue of him located in Melbourne.

When did John Farnham release “Age of Reason”?

This song is from Farnham’s 13th studio album, also entitled Age of Reason. And in addition to being the project’s title track, it also served as its lead single. It came out in that regard on 4 July 1988. 

The labels which supported its release are RCA Records, Sony BMG and Wheatley. And the latter is a business entity run by Glenn Wheatley, Farnham’s long-time manager.

John Farnham's "Age of Reason"

“Age of Reason” hits #1 in Australia

As far as John Farnham’s previously-mentioned Australian number ones go, “Age of Reason” is amongst them, having remained at the top of the chart for a month. (And just to note, the album also reached number one in Australia.) 

And in doing so, this hit actually made history. It marked the first time that a song co-written by a female managed to hit number 1 in Australia.

The tune also fared impressively in nearby New Zealand. Furthermore, it charted in a few European countries, including making an appearance on the UK Singles Chart.

In terms of this song’s success in the Land Down Under, it was also named the Most Performed Australasian Popular Work at the 1990 APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association) Awards.

Writing Credits

This song was written by Todd Hunter (New Zealand) and Johanna Pigott (Australia). That latter is primarily a songwriter and the former is known for his involvement in a band known as Dragon. 

In fact Pigott and Hunter had teamed up prior to write one of Dragon’s biggest hits, 1983’s “Rain“. And as the story goes they wrote this particular song for Farnsey after Farnham had entreated them to do so backstage at a 1987 Dragon concert.

And the producer of “Age of Reason” is one Ross Fraser.

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