Australian music mogul Michael Gudinski dead at 68

According to a statement from the Mushroom Group, Gudinski “died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne”.

Gudinski is survived by his wife, Sue, and their children Matt and Kate and two grandchildren.

“The family respectfully ask for privacy in this incredibly difficult time and thank everyone for their support,” the statement said.

RIP Michael Gudinski. Seems almost impossible. A towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape.
I’m not sure we ever agreed on anything, except maybe @edsheeran . Still didn’t stop us from being mates for 30 years. I’m going to miss him deeply. My love to his family.

— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe)

Utterly shocked to hear about the death of Michael Gudinski. Such a character and so full of life. What an extraordinary legacy he leaves. My condolences to his family.

— Myf Warhurst (@MyfWarhurst)

We finally caught up face to face last week, I was meant to call ya back today mate. Michael Gudinski, what a powerhouse. Rest easy.

— Senator Briggs (@Briggs)

Sad to hear about the passing of the legendary Michael Gudinski. He was my tour promoter for a brief period and stayed a friend even when I moved elsewhere. Saw him not 3 weeks ago holding court at a restaurant as only he could. A genius ❤️

— Joel Creasey (@joelcreasey)

Horrific news to hear of the death of Michael Gudinski. The man who shaped the Australian music industry. The hardest working, generous and most loyal figure you’ll ever meet. Watch over us Michael RIP ❤️

— Ryan Fitzgerald (@FitzySA)

Ed Sheeran at the races with Michael Gudinski. Picture Andrew TauberSource:News Corp Australia

Gudinski founded the Mushroom Group in 1972 at just 20 years old, which went on to become 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.

Music legends Molly Meldrum and Michael Gudinski. Picture: David CairdSource:News Limited

His touring company Frontier Touring is Australia’s leading promoter and has toured acts including Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Paul McCartney since its inception in 1979.

A larger-than-life figure, Gudinski was widely respected for his unwavering passion for all music – in particular Australian music.

Most recently, with the music industry severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gudinski conceptualised and developed Music From The Home Front, The Sound and The State Of Music, platforms designed to showcase and support contemporary Australian music in an incredibly difficult time.

Gudinski was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006. He was also awarded an ARIA Award for Special Achievement, was named an ARIA Industry icon and was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Music Victoria Awards in 2013.

Kylie Minogue backstage with her sister Dannii Minogue and record executive Michael Gudinski at Sound Relief Bushfire Benefit Concert in 2009. Picture Martin Philbey/RedfernsSource:Getty Images

FUN FACTS ABOUT MICHAEL GUDINSKI:

• In an interview with RACV published last year, Gudinski revealed that he never liked the way Jimmy Barnes screamed while singing.

“I managed him for a long time,” the music icon said. “He’s over 60 now. He had such a great voice but I remember many years ago when we were flying high, I said ‘Jimmy, if we last the distance, how’s your voice going to be when you’re 60 or 70?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘You know James Brown? His voice got better and so will mine.’”

• Despite being Australia’s greatest music promoter, Gudinski himself never played music.

“I’m not a frustrated pop star but I’ve always had a feel for it,” he said last year. “You stay enthused because, you know what – there are people who are surgeons, firefighters … I’m very lucky to have the life I have.”

Michael Gudinski and Leonard Cohen in 2009.Source:Supplied

• In 2015 music writer Stuart Coupe published a book about Gudinski called The Godfather of Australian Rock. But in an interview with The independent Echo Blog, Gudinski made it clear the book was “unauthorised”.

“People who are waiting to hear the great stories of Gudinski on the road – the legends – will be sorely disappointed to hear I’ve had my lawyers go through it with a fine-tooth comb,” he said in 2015. “I believe what goes on the road stays on the road.”