Michael Gudinski

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Michael Gudinski

Michael Gudinski Credit Brian Purnell of Mushroom Creative House - cropped.jpg
Gudinski in 2017
Michael Solomon Gudinski

(1952-08-22)22 August 1952
Died2 March 2021(2021-03-02) (aged 68)[2]
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • A&R executive
  • concert promoter
  • film producer
Years active1960s–2021
Known forMushroom Group founder
SpouseSue Gudinski
ChildrenKate Alexa, Matt Gudinski

Michael Solomon Gudinski AM (22 August 1952 – 2 March 2021) was an Australian record executive and promoter who was a leading figure in the Australian music industry. Born and raised in Melbourne to Jewish Russian immigrants, Gudinski formed the highly successful Australian record company Mushroom Records in 1972 through which he signed several generations of Australian musicians and performers ranging from MacKenzie Theory, the Skyhooks, The Choirboys, Kylie Minogue, and New Zealand's Split Enz to newer artists such as Eskimo Joe, Evermore and others.

Gudinski was considered to be "one of the most significant and powerful players" in the Australian music landscape.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Gudinski was born in Caulfield, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, to Jewish Russian immigrants Kuba and Nina Gudinski, who had arrived in Australia in 1948.[4]

He was educated at Mount Scopus College[1] and Melbourne High School.[5]


In his teenage years, Gudinski began promoting dance hall events around Melbourne.[3] In 1970, Gudinski established the Consolidated Rock artist agency with Michael Browning,[6] managing artists including Chain and Healing Force. The pair later founded the short-lived music magazine Daily Planet.[7]

Gudinski and fellow music agent Ray Evans formed Mushroom Records in late 1972. The company's first album was a triple-LP live recording of the 1973 Sunbury Festival. In its first few years Mushroom released albums and singles by some of the most significant Australian rock acts of the period, including Madder Lake, MacKenzie Theory, Matt Taylor, Ayers Rock, and the Dingoes.

Mushroom struggled to survive for its first two years, hampered by lack of airplay on commercial radio, and the company reportedly came close to folding on several occasions. But the label was dramatically pushed to the forefront of the Australian music scene in early 1975 with the massive success of Skyhooks, whose debut album Living in the 70's became the biggest-selling Australian LP ever released up to that time.

In 1977 Gudinski opened the music venue Bombay Bicycle Club in Bourke Street, Melbourne, soon moving it to Sydney Road Brunswick and renaming it Bombay Rock. This became one of the premier music venues of Australian and international rock bands in Melbourne.

Gudinski was convinced to sign expatriate New Zealand band Split Enz, who had recently relocated to Australia. Although they had only moderate success for the first few years, Split Enz scored huge success in 1980 with the release of their album True Colours and the hit single "I Got You", which marked the emergence of Neil Finn.

Through his ownership of Consolidated Rock, which later evolved into the Premier Artists/Harbour Agency group, Gudinski became the major player on the Australian east coast booking circuit, and enjoyed a virtual monopoly on rock music bookings in Melbourne for much of the 1970s. In partnership with others (including Frank Stivala, Philip Jacobsen and Ian James), he diversified his business interests to include most sections of the music industry including venues, concert promoting, merchandise, publishing and recording.

In 1988, Gudinski co-founded Melodian Records with Ian Meldrum.

In the early 1990s Gudinski sold 49% of Mushroom to News Ltd, who had owned Australia's largest record label, Festival Records since 1961. He sold his remaining 51% share to News in 1999 for a reported A$60 million, claiming that the sale was a protest against the changes to Australia's parallel record importation regulations.[citation needed]

In November 2005, shortly after the sale of Festival Mushroom's recording division to Warner Music Australia, Gudinski purchased Festival's publishing division for an undisclosed sum.

In 2020, Gudinski created The Sound, a music show for ABC TV which was developed out of an online production called The State of Music, which was created to help Australian musicians during the COVID-19 lockdown.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] He was also behind the Music from the Home Front concert, which was organised in nine days, so that artists could perform in the concert on ANZAC Day 2020.[15][16][17][18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Gudinski and his wife Sue had two children: daughter Kate, whom Gudinski signed to Liberation Music in mid-2004, and son Matt.[3] Gudinski was also the god-father of Jimmy Barnes' daughter, Mahalia Barnes.[20]

Gudinski was a life-long supporter of the St Kilda Football Club,[3] and once served as their vice president.[21]

Public image[edit]

A "larger-than-life figure",[22] Gudinski was often referred to as the "father of the Australian music industry".[23] Gudinski was a highly visible public figure throughout his career and is considered to be the only Australian record company executive whose name was known by the general public.[24]


On 2 March 2021, Gudinski died during his sleep at his home in Melbourne, at the age of 68.[25] A private funeral held in Melbourne was attended by numerous celebrity performers including Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran, Dannii Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly and Archie Roach.[26] On 28 October 2021, a toxicology report revealed that he had died of mixed drug use, with 12 drugs including cocaine, oxycodone and morphine present in his body. The report additionally revealed that he had heart disease, cirrhosis, and had suffered recent vertebral compression fractures.[27]

The opening caption of the Bruce Springsteen video for his song "I'll See You In My Dreams" reads: "In Memory of Michael Gudinski". The video was released on March 3, 2021, the day after Gudinski's death.[28]

On 24 March, a Gudinski memorial concert was held at Rod Laver Arena. It featured performances by artists including Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran, Jimmy Barnes and Paul Kelly, with appearances from artists around Australia and the world. It was live-streamed on Mushroom Group's YouTube channel and ABC Radio.[29] Minogue and Sheeran performed together, fulfilling a wish by Gudinski.[30]

Shortly after his death, Triple J's programme Hack (in addition to Double J's Zan Rowe) paid tribute to Gudinski, discussing his contributions to the Australian music industry.[31] Australian Story also dedicated a segment towards him.[32]

Sheeran dedicated his song "Visiting Hours" to Gudinski as a tribute, and performed it at his memorial service.[33][34]

On 4th of March 2022, during American rock band Foo Fighters’ final Australian concert before the passing of their drummer, Taylor Hawkins, In Geelong, Victoria, the band dedicated their hit song Everlong to Gudinski.

In popular culture[edit]


Awards and achievements[edit]

Gudinski received several awards for his work in the Australian entertainment industry. In 1992 he was awarded an ARIA Award for Special Achievement (as well as Mushroom Records),[36] while in 2013 he was acknowledged as the inaugural ARIA Industry Icon.[37]

At the 1998 APRA Music Awards he received the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.[38] Gudinski also received the JC Williamson Award in 2009,[39] and at the 2013 Music Victoria Awards was inducted into the awards' Hall of Fame, forty years after he founded Mushroom Records.[40]

In the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours, Gudinski was made a Member of the Order of Australia for "service to the entertainment industry", the promotion of Australian music and service to the community.[5][41]

Year Award Category About Result
1992[36] ARIA Music Awards Special Achievement Award Michael Gudinski & Mushroom Records awarded
1998[38] APRA Awards (Australia) Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music Michael Gudinski awarded
1999[42] Australian Marketing Institute Awards Sir Charles McGrath Award Michael Gudinski awarded
2003[43] International Live Music Conference (UK) ILMC Bottle Award (Life achievement) Michael Gudinski awarded
2006[5] Queen's Birthday Honours Member of the Order of Australia Michael Gudinski awarded
2006[43] Ernst & Young Ernst & Young Southern Region Entrepreneur of the Year Michael Gudinski awarded
2009[39] JC Williamson Award Lifetime Achievement Award Michael Gudinski awarded
2012[44] City of Melbourne Melburnian of the Year Michael Gudinski awarded
2013[40] Music Victoria Awards Music Victoria Hall of Fame Michael Gudinski inducted
2013[37] ARIA Music Awards Icon Awards Michael Gudinski awarded
2014[45] Billboard International Power Players Michael Gudinski awarded



  • Coupe, Stuart (28 July 2015). Gudinski: The Godfather of Australian Music (1 ed.). Sydney: Hachette Australia. ISBN 9780733633102.


  1. ^ a b Who's Who in Australia. ConnectWeb. 2019.
  2. ^ Eliezer, Christie (1 March 2021). "Michael Gudinski dies at 68 [breaking]". The Music Network. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Quinn, Karl; Boulton, Martin (2 March 2021). "'Heart of Australian music ripped out': Michael Gudinski dies aged 68". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  4. ^ Rocca, Jane (7 July 2019). "Michael Gudinski: 'I'd be lying if I said I thought Kylie would become what she has'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Michael Gudinski Member (AM) of the Order of Australia". The Age. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Australian music industry giant Gudinski dies at 68". The New Daily. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  7. ^ Eliezer, Christie (12 November 1999). "Gudinski is back for a second act". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 2 March 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Michael Gudinski, Australian music mogul and Mushroom records co-founder, dies aged 68". the Guardian. 2 March 2021.
  9. ^ Condon, Dan (15 July 2020). "Season one of ABC TV show The Sound ends this weekend". Double J.
  10. ^ "Gudinski's 'The Sound' renewed by ABC TV for second season". 15 October 2020.
  11. ^ "The Sound". ABC iview.
  12. ^ "ABC's The Sound announces return for season 2 | NME Australia". NME. 15 October 2020.
  13. ^ "We're Getting Season Two Of ABC's The Sound Next Month". Music Feeds. 16 October 2020.
  14. ^ "StackPath". amnplify.com.au.
  15. ^ "Music From The Home Front to be rebroadcast this month | NME Australia". NME. 16 June 2020.
  16. ^ https://www.aroundthesound.com.au/vale-michael-solomon-gudinski-am/
  17. ^ "Music From The Home Front live album announced for release | NME Australia". NME. 29 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Music From The Home Front | ANZAC Day 25 April 2020". Music From The Home Front | ANZAC Day 25 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Bruce Springsteen, Kylie Minogue and more pay tribute to Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski, dead at 68 | NME Australia". NME. 2 March 2021.
  20. ^ Dwyer, Michael (24 November 2005). "Barnes stormed". The Age. Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  21. ^ Meldrum, Ethan (2 March 2021). "Leigh Montagna reflects on Michael Gudinski's impact on the St Kilda Football Club". Triple M. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  22. ^ Swain, Sarah (2 March 2021). "Australian music industry icon Michael Gudinski dies". 9News. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Australian music legend Michael Gudinski dies, aged 68". Sky News Australia. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  24. ^ Ford, Andrew (2 August 2015). "Michael Gudinski by Stuart Coupe". ABC Radio National. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  25. ^ Burke, Kelly (2 March 2021). "Michael Gudinski, Australian music mogul and Mushroom Records co-founder, dies aged 68". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Celebs turn out for music icon's funeral". News.com.au. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  27. ^ Brook, Stephen (28 October 2021). "Music promoter Michael Gudinski died of mixed drug use, existing heart condition". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Bruce Springsteen - I'll See You In My Dreams (Lyric Video)". YouTube. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  29. ^ "Michael Gudinski memorial to feature performances from Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran". ABC. Australia. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  30. ^ Press, Australian Associated (24 March 2021). "Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran and Jimmy Barnes perform at Michael Gudinski's state memorial". the Guardian.
  31. ^ "Why crystal sex toys are gaining popularity". triple j. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  32. ^ Remembering Michael Gudinski | 7.30, retrieved 28 April 2021
  33. ^ English, Laura (19 August 2021). "Ed Sheeran's New Album Is Dedicated To Michael Gudinski & He's Shared 'Visiting Hours'". Music Feeds. Evolve Media. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  34. ^ "Ed Sheeran Releases Emotional Tribute Song For Michael Gudinski". Triple M. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  35. ^ Chrisfield, Bryget (2 February 2016). "Aaron Glenane channelled 'a bull in a china shop' to play Michael Gudinski in Molly". The Music. Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  36. ^ a b "Winners by Year 1992". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  37. ^ a b "2013 ARIA Awards Winners by Year". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  38. ^ a b "1998 Winners - APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 18 September 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  39. ^ a b "Helpmanns honour Guest for final role". ABC News. 28 July 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  40. ^ a b "Previous Winners & Nominees". Music Victoria Awards. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  41. ^ "The Queen's Birthday 2006 Honours" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Government House, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. 12 June 2006. p. 6. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  42. ^ "Sir Charles McGrath Award". Australian Marketing Institute Awards. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  43. ^ a b "Michael Gudinski R.I.P." rhythms. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  44. ^ "2012 Melburnian of the Year". melbourne. 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  45. ^ "Billboard's 2014 International Power Players List". Billboard. January 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2021.

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