Pioneering music entrepreneur and Mushroom Records founder Michael Gudinski has died, aged 68.
A family statement confirmed he died peacefully in his sleep.
“Michael Gudinski was a key figure in shaping the Australian music industry,” the statement from Mushroom read.
“A larger-than-life figure, Michael was widely respected for his unwavering passion for all music — in particular Australian music.
“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 formed Mushroom Records in 1972 with fellow music agent Ray Evans through whom he signed several generations of Australian musicians and performers ranging Madder Lake, MacKenzie Theory, Matt Taylor,The Dingoes, Skyhooks, The Choirboys, Kylie Minogue, and Split Enz to newer artists such as Eskimo Joe, Evermore and others forging a string of successful releases by local talent.
The empire grew to include Premier Artists/Harbour Agency group, Melodian Records with Ian Meldrum, Frontier Touring, MCM Entertainment, Mushroom Music Publishing, and film / TV production Mushroom Pictures.
He was an executive producer on Wolf Creek, The Gloaming, Molly, Molly: The Real Thing, Great Australian Albums, Such is Life: The Troubled Times of Ben Cousins, Gettin’ Square and Chopper.
Last year he was instrumental in Nine’s Music from the Homefront fundraiser, ABC’s The Sound and Victorian events to get musicians performing post-lockdown.
In January he appeared at Sounds Better Together fundraising event at Mallacoota, introducing Mushroom favourite and friend, Kylie Minogue.
He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia and received the JC Williamson Award from the Heplmanns.
Hugh Marks, Nine Chief Executive Officer said, “We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the passing of Michael Gudinski. A titan of the Australian music and entertainment scene, he forged a ground-breaking path and leaves an incredible legacy. So many of us at Nine have worked closely with him over many years, most recently through the pandemic. Joining forces with Michael to produce Music From the Home Front and Sounds Better Together concerts, his love, support and commitment to local musicians was centre stage. A force for good, for artists and for his industry, one of the truly creative people I know, we will all really miss him. We send all our love and condolences to Michael’s wife Sue, children Kate and Matthew, and grandchildren.”
Statement by David Anderson, ABC Managing Director, on behalf of the ABC: “Michael Gudinski’s support for and belief in Australian music has been an inspiration to generations of Australians. Michael’s support for the ABC and our staff has spanned many years, platforms and programs – across our music networks and television programs, from Countdown to rage, Recovery and, most recently, The Sound. The ABC shared some historical moments with Michael. The first track played on Double J in 1975, for example, was You Just Like Me Coz I’m Good in Bed – by Mushroom artists Skyhooks – a song that was banned on other stations at the time. It was a ground-breaking moment for Michael, Double J and music fans across the country. Michael’s passion for music and life was always a force of nature. Australian artists and music lovers had no greater champion. He was a friend to so many of us and we will miss him greatly. On behalf of everyone at the ABC, we extend our sympathies to his family and friends.”
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