Ed Sheeran in tears performing farewell song at Michael Gudinski memorial

Mar 25, 2021
Ed Sheeran performed a new song he wrote for his friend Michael Gudinski. Source: Youtube/daniellegend

Ed Sheeran left the stage in tears after farewelling his “father figure and mentor” Michael Gudinski with an emotional performance at the music icon’s state memorial in Melbourne on Wednesday.

International and home-grown music stars came together to celebrate the life Gudinski, with stars including Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, and Paul Kelly performing to a crowd of 8,000 people at Rod Laver Arena.

Gudinski, who founded Mushroom Records and brought the biggest names in showbiz to Australia throughout his career, died suddenly in his sleep on March 2, aged 68. His death shocked the music industry and devastated the artists he had befriended and mentored over his life.

Taking to the stage in a black suit and a St Kilda tie — a nod to Gudinski’s favourite AFL team — Sheeran recalled his friendship with Aussie icon and described him as a “tornado of joy”. Sheeran was granted special permission to fly to Australia for the memorial service. He spent 14 days in quarantine in NSW with his wife and baby daughter before flying to Melbourne for the performance.

“I’m extremely, extremely grateful to be here – it’s a difficult thing to get into this country and I don’t take it for granted at all, all the hard work it’s taken to get me here – I just appreciate the opportunity to be able to say goodbye,” he said.

Sheeran then played a song he finished writing in quarantine last week, titled ‘Visiting Hours’, and began to cry when he sang the lyric “I wish heaven had visiting hours, I’d ask them if I could take you home”.

He left the stage in tears before returning later for a joyful performance with Kylie Minogue. The pair sang Kylie’s hit songs ‘All the Lovers’ and ‘The Locomotion’ and had the crowd singing and dancing along with them.

Some of the biggest names in music paid tribute to Gudinski via videos that were played to the crowd at the memorial. Elton John, Rod Stewart, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Taylor Swift and more sent messages of condolences and shared their memories of the man behind the music.

“What a legend he was. Musicians from all over the world wanted to come to Australia to work with him. People like him don’t come along very often,” Elton John said. “Shine on, you crazy man.”

Billy Joel said: “He was a great guy to hang out with he loved musicians and they loved him right back. He loved Australia maybe more than anyone I’ve ever known. I’m gonna miss that energy.”

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