Celebrating Aus Music Legend Michael Gudinsky

Australian legend Michael Gudinski, a magnificent figure on the Australian cultural landscape, has died on 1 March 2021 at the age of 68.

Credit: The Australian

“The Australian music legend and Mushroom Group Founder and Executive Chairman was confirmed to have “died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne” on Monday night”

Source: The Music

Throughout the 1970s, Gudinski spent years of his young life building a solid reputation within the emerging Sydney music scene. He was one step up from an office boy at the time. And without the cloud of the big managers, he was already miles ahead of them.

Gudinski could be frequently spotted backstage, hanging out, always with a joint in his hand.

Sunbury 73

Sunbury 73, Australia’s answer to Woodstock, was a major turning point in Australian music. The festival had 40,000 attendees. It was the the first time anyone had taken a gamble operating a 3-day event featuring an all-Australian lineup.

Credit: Anddum

The 3-day festival is still recognised as the jumping off point for contemporary Australian music.

And Gudinski became part of that creative eruption in Australian music.

“The live recording of the Sunbury ’73 music festival and its subsequent release as a triple album owed its genesis to young music entrepreneur Michael Gudinski’s frustration with existing record companies. It is significant as Mushroom Records’ first release, a statement of independence by Gudinski, and a telling snapshot of how tough, loud pub rock dominated the music scene at the time. Hippies out, Thorpie (Billy Thorpe) in.”

Source: The Age

Gudinski questioned the way in which record companies made unsupportive decisions in relation to their artists. This was the driving force behind his future in the Australian music industry.

Mushroom Records

In 1972, Gudinski founded Mushroom Records. Thanks to the band Skyhooks, Mushroom took off. The company boasted artists such as Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, Garbage and The Angels. His biggest success, by far, was that which he designed for Kylie Minogue. The star went on to sell more than 70m records.

1979 saw Gudinski establish Frontier Touring. This Australian/NZ touring agency included an array of international acts. Names include Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Bon Jovi. He became a major support for Indigenous artists Archie Roach and Yothu Yindi whose careers have created a vast cultural legacy.

Enduring Legacy

The Music and Booze Co co-founder and former owner of the Annandale Hotel, Dan Rule, says that he would occasionally spot Gudinsky, “(at the venue), if he had a band playing at the Annandale.”

He was the type of manager who was always there. In support of his artists, no matter what size the venue was.

A Member of the Order of Australia Medal was awarded to Gudinski for his service to the entertainment industry in 2006. An advocate for locating and showcasing local talent, Michael Gudinski was also an advocate for music and the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, he brought projects such as Music From The Home Front and Primetime’s The Sound and State Of Music, to life.

Credit: BBC

Michael Gudinski’s profound effect on the Australian music industry will not be soon forgotten. His life will be honoured at a State Funeral, with the date still to be set.

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