Australia Farewells Michael Gudinski With a Funeral Fit for a Legend

When Mushroom Records founder Michael Gudinski passed away on March 2, many well-known people in the entertainment industry shared their grief at the loss of someone who had done so much for Aussie music.

On March 24, hundreds of mourners gathered at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena for a moving memorial, headlined by some of the world’s most recognisable acts.

Grammy award winner Ed Sheeran — who was granted a travel exemption to be able to enter the country — performed a brand new song titled Visiting Hours that he wrote for his friend while in quarantine, and was overcome with emotion midway through.

Sheeran also played his hit single Castle On The Hill, revealing it was Gudinski’s personal favourite.

Australian artists Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly, Mark Seymour, Vika and Linda Bull and Mia Wray also paid tribute to their late friend, with Minogue telling the crowd, “Michael, the ‘Big G’, took this little girl from Melbourne to the world, and back home again.”

Minogue joined Sheeran on stage to perform her hits All the Lovers and Locomotion.

Our homegrown talent was joined by a number of international celebrities who attended the service virtually.

Taylor Swift was one of them with the singer saying, “I met Michael through work but it became very apparent to me that he cared about me as a person and this was a friendship and he had my back…I will never forget the wonderful times in my life that came about because of Michael because he believed in me.”

Billy Joel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Shawn Mendes, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and the Temper Trap also contributed to the celebration of Gudinski’s life, providing further evidence of what an undeniable force the entrepreneur truly was.

“When you thought of Australia, you thought of Michael,” Springsteen said.

“He was a music man. Michael wasn’t just excited about the receipts, he was excited about the show.”

Sir Elton called Gudinski a “legend” saying, “Musicians from all over the world wanted to come to Australia so that they could work for him because he loved music so much.

“He took care of his artists. He became their friends and their confidants.

“Not many people in the business can do that.”

The Project’s Carrie Bickmore also delivered a touching eulogy at the memorial, remembering him as a “generous” man who was instrumental in her starting Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer Foundation.

Australian artists, like Kate Ceberano, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins and Amy Shark also shared their memories of Gudinski with the audience that included Red Simons, Shane Jacobson, Brian Mannix, and Daryl Braithwaite.

Having created the Mushroom record label in 1972, Gudinski was instrumental in shaping the musical identity of the country.

As the founder of Frontier Touring Group, Gudinski was also responsible for bringing countless international musical acts to our shores, allowing generations of music lovers the chance to experience their favourite performers alongside fellow fans.

He passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 2 and is survived by his wife Sue and two children, Kate Alexa and Matthew.

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