Michael Gudinski, the late chairman and founder of the Mushroom Group of companies, was no ordinary music entrepreneur.
Gudinski, who died on Monday (March 1) at the age of 68, was a force-of-nature character who is being remembered as a trailblazer and a towering figure in Australia’s music industry.
As the sad news broke Tuesday morning local time, artists, executives and politicians from across Australia and abroad turned to social media to pay tribute.
ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Kylie Minogue had worked with “The Big G” since the very beginning. She tweeted, “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’”.
Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese wrote, “Shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Michael Gudinski. We were both at the Oils gig in Sydney on Thursday. It’s hard to think of anyone who did more for Australian music than Michael. Vale.”
Albanese’s colleague Tony Burke MP, Shadow Minister For Industrial Relations and Shadow Minister For The Arts, remarked that Gudinski “was one of the most important and formidable figures in the history of Australian music. You simply cannot tell the story of Australian music without Michael Gudinski squarely in the centre of it.”
Born to Jewish Russian immigrants in 1952, Gudinski’s Mushroom Group spans 20-plus affiliated businesses across all areas of the music industry, and it’s the engine room for countless careers.
Burke remembers Gudinski as an advocate for women and First Nations artists in the music industry, and as a “larger-than-life personality and one of Australia’s great larrikins.”
When Gudinski started in showbusiness in his teens, Burke adds, “Australian music was a cottage industry. He was instrumental in turning it into a powerhouse, earning him the title ‘the father of the Australian music industry’”.
Legendary rocker Jimmy Barnes says his good friend MG was the soul of Australia’s music industry. “Today the heart of Australian music was ripped out,” Barnes tweeted. “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.”
Oscar winner and occasional rocker Russell Crowe wrote, “Seems almost impossible. A towering figure on the Australian cultural landscape. I’m not sure we ever agreed on anything, except maybe Ed Sheeran. Still didn’t stop us from being mates for 30 years. I’m going to miss him deeply. My love to his family.”
Foo Fighters toured Australia with Gudinski’s Frontier Touring on several occasions. “Thank you Michael Gudinski for giving us and countless others the best night of our lives. Over and over again. A true fucking legend,” wrote Dave Grohl and Co., leading a flood of tributes from the international artist community.