Tributes flow for Michael Gudinski, 'legend' of Australian music

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Following the shocking passing of Australian music promoter and founder of Mushroom Records, Michael Gudinksi, the entertainment industry has been overflowing with tributes for the 68-year-old.

Gudinski famously launched Kylie Minogue's music career, signing her to Mushroom and releasing Locomotion in 1987, which was the highest-selling Australian single of the decade. He was also made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006.

Following his shocking passing overnight, Australia's entertainment industry has been sharing tributes for Michael Gudinski. Photo: Getty
Following his shocking passing overnight, Australia's entertainment industry has been sharing tributes for Michael Gudinski. Photo: Getty

Today Extra host David Campbell and Nine Entertainment Editor Richard Wilkins struggled with the news on air with David saying, "I personally believe he built this music industry almost single-handedly."

The host began choking up, saying, "Dickie, I don't know if I have words for this."

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"No, I think you speak for everyone," Richard said. "Michael Gudinski is one of those people who is known by people around the world. It's impossible to overstate his contribution to Australian music.

"His tentacles touched every part of the industry. It's so sad".

David then told Today, "Australian music is where it is because of Michael Gudinski.

Michael Gudinski with Kylie and Dannii Minogue
Gudinski famously launched Kylie Minogue's music career, signing her to Mushroom and releasing Locomotion in 1987, which was the highest-selling Australian single of the decade. Photo: Getty

"He believed in Aussie artists and he backed them. He was driven, passionate and one eyed on how great our musicians and artists are.

"The only thing he was more passionate about was his family. A true giant."

David's father Jimmy Barnes also shared a tribute on Twitter, writing, "Today the heart of Australian music was ripped out. 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. 

"He stood with me through my darkest moments and my most joyous days. Michael was the rock I reached for when life tried to wash me away. He never closed his door or his heart to me and my family. But I wasn’t the only one who felt like Michael was there for me."

The singer continued, "He was there for everyone that needed him. The music business turned, grew and moved forward in Australia because of Michael. He was a force of nature, a giant of a man.

Michael's touring company Frontier Touring is Australia’s leading promoter and has worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Ed Sheeran (pictured). Photo: Getty
Michael's touring company Frontier Touring is Australia’s leading promoter and has worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Ed Sheeran (pictured). Photo: Getty

"His boundless enthusiasm breathed life into our music scene. But that was just one side of Michael. He was a staunch friend, a loving father and grandfather and an adoring husband to Sue. 

"@jane13barnes and I are shocked at the loss of our friend but we will try to be strong and keep the music flowing from our hearts. We will stand by his family just like he stood by ours. I loved Michael, always will." 

Bruce Springsteen also took to Twitter to share a tribute, writing, "My friend Michael Gudisnki was first, last and always a music man. I've toured the world for the last fifty years and never met a better promoter. Michael always spoke with a deep rumbling voice, and the words would spill out so fast that half the time I needed an interpreter.

Ed Sheeran shared a shot of himself and Michael on a beach with the caption,
Ed Sheeran shared a shot of himself and Michael on a beach with the caption, "I'll miss you mate."

"But I could hear him clear as a bell when he would say, 'Bruce, I've got you covered.' And he always did. He was loud, always in motion, intentionally (an unintentionally) hilarious, and deeply soulful. He will be remembered by artists, including this one, from all over the world every time they step foot on Australian soil.

"My deepest condolences to his wife and parter Sue and to the whole Gudinski family, of which he was so proud."

Kylie Minogue wrote, "MICHAEL GUDINSKI - Legend. Legacy. LOVE. 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’."

Members of the Australian entertainment industry shared their tributes for Michael. Photo: Twitter
Members of the Australian entertainment industry shared their tributes for Michael. Photo: Twitter

Russell Crowe added, "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."

Carrie Bickmore also shared a tribute that read, "I am so so saddened to hear that Michael Gudinski has passed away. A giant of the music industry and just a great mate to so many of us. He entered every room and every conversation with energy and passion and am thinking of Sue and his family today who he just loved so much."

Ed Sheeran shared a shot of himself and Michael on a beach with the caption, "I'll miss you mate."

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