Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes and Ed Sheeran were among the artists who performed as part of last night’s memorial service for Mushroom Group founder, impresario and industry legend Michael Gudinski last night.
Streamed live on Mushroom Group’s YouTube channel, the three-hour-long service paid tribute to the colossal impact Gudinski, who passed away in his sleep aged 68 from a heart attack earlier this month, had on Australia’s music landscape.
From his fostering of championing of Australian artists, to bringing out huge international names through his work with Frontier Touring, to the pivotal role he played in keeping Australian music alive during last year’s coronavirus pandemic, Gudinski was remembered as both a titan of the industry and a loyal friend.
Sheeran, who flew in to Australia specifically to appear the service, performed ‘Castle on the Hill’ and ‘The A Team’ along with the emotional debut of a new song titled ‘Visiting Hours’ inspired by his friendship with Gudinski and written while the singer was quarantining last week.
In between songs, Sheeran recalled his first interactions with the “bigwig” Gudinski. “I quickly realised that he was just a barrel of laughs… He was just a tornado of joy. Everywhere he went, he just lifted the room, and then fucked off.”
Minogue took to the stage soon after to remember the icon. “The Big G took this little scrawny girl from Melbourne to the world and back home again… He made me feel a hundred feet tall,” she said.
“I echo the sentiments of everything that has been said tonight, especially how he believed in you when you couldn’t believe in yourself.”
Minogue then invited Sheeran back onstage to perform together – the two artists meeting, Minogue said, had always been a wish of Gudinski’s. The two performed Minogue’s 1987 hit ‘The Loco-Motion’ along with ‘All the Lovers’.
Barnes played a trio of songs at the memorial, including new single ‘Flesh and Blood’. The Cold Chisel frontman remembered Gudinski – with whom he developed a decades-long friendship through years of touring – as a “partner in crime, saying, “We laughed, we fought, we cried, we did everything together… We’re like flesh and blood, we really are.”
Video tributes flowed throughout the memorial from those who knew Gudinski – including Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift, Josh Homme and Dave Grohl along with the likes of Midnight Oil‘s Peter Garrett, members of the Rubens and DMA’S, Amy Shark and more.
Others who spoke at the memorial included Gudinski’s daughter Kate and son, Mushroom Group executive director Matt, who said that the company would honour the icon’s legacy by continuing to further his vision.
“Dad helped this city build an identity, a global identity as the home of music which he loved so much,” Matt Gudinski recalled during his eulogy.
“Championing and showcasing our city was something he did with unparalleled enthusiasm. I’m very proud to stand here this evening and call Michael Gudinski my father.”