Bruce Springsteen, Kylie Minogue and more pay tribute to Australian music mogul Michael Gudinski, dead at 68

Gudinski was at the helm of Mushroom Group for just under 50 years

Michael Gudinski AM, founder and head of one of Australia’s largest independent label companies, Mushroom Group, has died aged 68.

According to a company statement, Gudinski died in his sleep overnight. TMN reports that Gudinski was expected to announce a “major project with the Victorian Government to bolster the state’s music industry” in the coming weeks.

Gudinski founded Mushroom Group in 1972, aged 20. Years before that, he reportedly formed his first booking agency and promoted dances as a teenager. Gudinski is also credited as boosting Kylie Minogue’s profile as a young artist, signing her to Mushroom and releasing ‘Locomotion’ in 1987.

Current acts signed to Mushroom’s group of labels include Julia Jacklin, DMA’S, Hayley Mary, DZ Deathrays, Gordi and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.

He also headed major touring agency Frontier, which formed in 1979 and is part of Mushroom Group.

Over the past year, Mushroom Group has collaborated with the government of the state of Victoria and Australian broadcaster ABC to launch a number of initiatives that would support artists during the pandemic, including music TV series The Sound, live-streamed performance series The State of Music and Sounds Better Together.

Gudinski was also behind the Music From The Home Front ANZAC Day benefit concert last year, which included a lineup of Kevin Parker, Courtney Barnett, G Flip, Paul Kelly and Missy Higgins, among others.

“It speaks to the man he was that of his countless illustrious career achievements these projects, that supported the industry he loved, were ones he was particularly proud of,” a Mushroom spokesperson said on his passing.

“Michael was renowned for his loyalty and dedication. His ability to achieve the unachievable against unsurmountable odds was proven time and again and spoke to his absolute passion for his career and life.”

Gudinski is survived by his wife Sue, son Matt (who is Mushroom Group’s executive director), daughter Kate and two grandchildren.

Michael Gudinski dead Ed Sheeran pays tribute
Michael Gudinski and Ed Sheeran in 2018. Credit: Matt Jelonek/WireImage

Members of the Australian arts, sport and media industries have mourned Gudinski on social media following news of his passing. Ed Sheeran, Queens Of The Stone Age, Russell Crowe, Alex Lahey, Cub Sport, Briggs and Garbage are among the many to have paid tribute to the late entrepreneur.

Kylie Minogue, who was signed to Mushroom Records from 1987 to 2008, posted a tribute on social media.

“Legend. Legacy. LOVE. A Titan of the music industry,” Minogue wrote.

“One of a kind and forever family to me. My heart is broken and I can’t believe he’s gone. Irreplaceable and unforgettable, I’ll always love you ‘The Big G’.

Bruce Springsteen posted a statement on social media as well, saying that he’s “never met a better promoter”.

“Michael always spoke with a deep rumbling voice, and the words would spill out so fast that half the time I needed an interpreter,” he continued.

“But I could hear him clear as a bell when he would say, ‘Bruce, I’ve got you covered.’ And he always did.”

Foo Fighters also shared a tribute, calling Gudinski “a true fucking legend”.

Australia’s Shadow Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke MP, released a statement earlier today, writing “You simply cannot tell the story of Australian music without Michael Gudinski squarely in the centre of it.”

“For nearly 50 years,” he continued, “he was a passionate and relentless advocate for the local music industry and the artists that make it great.

“When he started in show business in his teens, Australian music was a cottage industry. He was instrumental in turning it into a powerhouse, earning him the title ‘the father of the Australian music industry’.”

Read more tributes to Gudinski below.


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