Aussie music industry legend Michael Gudinski dies, aged 68

Mar 02, 2021
Michael Gudinski with Kylie and Danni Minogue at the Sound Relief Bushfire Benefit Concert in Melbourne in 2009. Source: Getty

Australian music promoter and record label founder Michael Gudinski has died, aged 68. “The much-loved Australian music legend died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne, Australia,” his company Mushroom Group said in a statement.

“Michael Gudinski was a key figure in shaping the Australian music industry. He founded the Mushroom Group in 1972 at just 20 years old, which flourished into Australia’s largest independent entertainment group covering touring, record labels, publishing, merchandising, booking agencies, film and television production and creative services. Some of Australia’s most iconic albums have been released under one of his Mushroom Group record labels.

“His touring company Frontier Touring is Australia’s leading promoter, touring the biggest names in global music since its inception in 1979.”

In 1987, Gudinski signed Kylie Minogue, who took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon, writing, “MICHAEL GUDINSKI – Legend. Legacy. LOVE. A Titan of the music industry. 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’.”

Thanks to Gudinski, Australians have also seen Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Dolly Parton among many other huge names, and watched the careers of Aussie artists such as Skyhooks, Split Enz and Jimmy Barnes flourish.

Barnes, 64, also took to Twitter to express his sorrow in a series of emotional tweets, writing, “Today the heart of Australian music was ripped out. I felt it, my family felt it, the music business felt it , the world felt it. Michael Gudinski was not only that heart but he was my friend. He stood with me through my darkest moments and my most joyous days. Michael was the rock I reached for when life tried to wash me away. He never closed his door or his heart to me and my family. But I wasn’t the only one who felt like Michael was there for me.

“He was there for everyone that needed him. The music business turned, grew and moved forward in Australia because of him. He won multiple industry awards and in 2006 was given a Member of the Order of Australia medal for services to the entertainment industry. Michael: He was a force of nature, a giant of a man.”

Singer Marcia Hines, 67, also took to Twitter, writing, “The passing of Michael Gudinski has left me in a state of shock. He was a true pioneer in the music industry and a man who believed in the development of artists like myself & many others. His friendship knew no bounds. He was a genuine original, & not replaceable. May you #RIP”

Michael is survived by his wife Sue, son Matt, daughter Kate and two grandchildren.

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