Vale: Michael Gudinski

Pioneering music entrepreneur & Mushroom Records founder Michael Gudinski has died.

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.”

This post updates.

Source: ABC

13 Responses

  1. Very big loss for the Music industry. Gudinski has organised a lot of events including the Sound Relief Concert in 2009 at MCG and SCG. As well, he had awarded a 1992 ARIA Award for special achievement. Michael has changed a lot in the Australian Music industry over the past 4 decades. RIP Michael

  2. Gee couldn’t believe it, only heard him on the radio 2 weeks ago pumping up The Rubens.

    What a legacy he had in music and last year his music from the home frontconcert during covid was just brilliant.

  3. Farewell to a great supporter of Aussie music

    I interviewed him on the radio in 2004 when I presented a special celebrating the 30th anniversary of Skyhooks’ “Living In The 70s”. It was one of the few interviews where I was nervous beforehand. He was very talkative, but I could tell near the end that he wanted to wrap up because he had more important things to do, which no doubt he did.

    1. Also once I went to the Music, Melbourne + Me exhibition when Gudinski and Lee Simon were doing a tour and talking about their days in the biz. In true Gudinski style, and just like the final 12th Man album, he was ducking off every so often to talk on his mobile phone. What was so important? Oh he was just planning a tour of The Rolling Stones. I thought to myself “Imagine how many rock stars phone numbers are on that mobile”

  4. … first met Michael when we were both aged 22 and both determined to make our marks in industries ruled by men more than twenty years our senior … he proved to be supremely adept at doing just that … goodbye old son, we’ll miss you …

  5. Sad to hear. Too young.
    Very sudden…doesn’t appear he was ill as he was still attending very recent functions and by all accounts still the life of the party.
    An absolute legend and pioneer and undoubtedly the main driving force behind the Aus music industry for so many years.

  6. woah, as a huge fan of Aussie rock & pop music who grew up in the 80s this hits hard, such a massive loss! The local music scene from 70s to 90s just would not have been the same without Gudinski, so many artists would have gone undiscovered or never met their full potential. Fans like myself with eclectic tastes revelled in hearing the variety of new songs pumped out on the radio, we were never left bored due to people like Gudinski who were so passionate about what they did. RIP Michael, keep rocking on wherever you may be mate.

  7. Years ago when I was a DJ on Perth’s 6NR, I was invited to a Mushroom showcase event and hung with Leonardo’s Bride. Even though I never met Michael that night, he was visibly flitting around with such an exuberance and people spoke in awe of him, joking about what they can do make him even happier. He was a massive personality, truly passionate about music and Aussie artists. RIP and thanks, Michael.

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