Australian Music Legend Michael Gudinski Dead At 68

Michael Gudinski
– Michael Gudinski

Michael Gudinksi, a legend whose influence looms large in Australian music history, died March 2 at his home in Melbourne.  

The founder of Frontier Touring and Mushroom Group, including record label Mushroom Records, was 68.
According to a statement from Mushroom Group, Gudinski died in his sleep and no cause was given.
Gudinski’s fledgling Mushroom Records, which he founded at age 20 in 1972,  was responsible for putting many Australian artists on the world’s radar, including early act Skyhook, which sold a then-unheard of 240,000 copies of its album debut, Living In The ’70s, to reach No. 1 on that country’s charts, according to The Hollywood Reporter  
Over the years, the label broke seminal Australian acts such as Skyhook, The Sports, Split Enz, Jimmy Barnes and Kylie Minogue. 
Garbage was signed via Mushroom’s UK operation, followed by Pop Will Eat Itself, Ash and Peter Andre. 
After selling a 49% share to fellow Aussie Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 1993, Gudinski sold his remaining 51% to the company in 1998 for a reported A$40 million.  
The sale allowed Gudinski to expand Mushroom Group into a music industry juggernaut, encompassing touring, publishing, merchandise, creative services and more. 
He formed Frontier Touring in 1979 and brought artists including The Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra to Australia in the 1980s and ’90s, but in recent years promoted tours with such luminaries as Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Drake, Muse, and Harry Styles. 
But it was Ed Sheeran’s monster “Divide” tour of Australia in 2019 that broke all records and won attention worldwide for selling an unprecedented 1.1 million tickets, 

In Frontier’s early years, Gudinski partnered with Michael Chugg, another legendary Australian promoter. The pair eventually split and became competitors, with Chugg forming Chugg Entertainment. 
After quashing rumors of an acquisition by AEG Presents, Gudinski and Chugg stunned the promoting world by instead forming a joint venture in 2019.  
Gudinski was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 and given the ARIA Icon award in 2013 by the Austrailian Recording Industry Association. 
In a 2019 interview with Pollstar, shortly after reuniting with Chugg, Gudinski said: ““In three years, it’ll be my 70th birthday and Mushroom’s 50th anniversary,” he continues. “Some people will realize I started at 20. It’s a different landscape now. Music was rebellious then. I left school early, put up posters and ran dances on school holidays. As Billy Joel says, ‘It was a great job to meet women.’ I smile about that now, but whether you’re a plumber, a journalist or electrician … if you love your job you are better at it. If I hadn’t been my own boss I’d have been fired 10 times.”

The global community of artists and business leaders were swift to respond the news of Gudinski’s unexpected death.
“Legend. Legacy.  LOVE,” Minogue wrote on Twitter. “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’. #MichaelGudinski”
Barnes, one of Australia’s first bona fide rock stars, tweeted: “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.”
Irving Azoff, co-founder of Pollstar parent company Oak View Group, wrote, “End of an era. He was everything to importing and exporting music in and out of Australia. My heart goes out to Sue and the family. He was one of the greatest promoters that ever lived.”
“My friend Michael Gudinski was first, last, and always a music man,” Springsteen said in a statement. “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. 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 (and unintentionally) hilarious, and deeply soulful. He will be remembered by artists, including this one, from all over the world every time they set foot on Australian soil. My deepest condolences to his wife and partner Sue and to the whole Gudinski family, of which he was so proud.  

Mushroom Group’s announcement in full:


22 August 1952 – 02 March 2021

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Gudinski AM overnight. The much-loved Australian music legend died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Melbourne, Australia.

Michael Gudinski was a key figure in shaping the Australian music industry. He founded the Mushroom Group in 1972 at just 20 years old, which flourished into Australia’s largest independent entertainment group covering touring, record labels, publishing, merchandising, booking agencies, film and television production and creative services. Some of Australia’s most iconic albums have been released under one of his Mushroom Group record labels. His touring company Frontier Touring is Australia’s leading promoter, touring the biggest names in global music since its inception in 1979.

A larger-than-life figure, Michael was widely respected for his unwavering passion for all music – in particular Australian music. Most recently, with the music industry severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael conceptualised and developed Music From The Home Front, The Sound and The State Of Music, platforms designed to showcase and support contemporary Australian music in an incredibly difficult time. It speaks to the man he was that of his countless illustrious career achievements these projects, that supported the industry he loved, were ones he was particularly proud of.

Michael was renowned for his loyalty and dedication. His ability to achieve the unachievable against unsurmountable odds was proven time and again and spoke to his absolute passion for his career and life.

Michael’s family loved him immensely and Michael in turn adored his wife Sue, son Matt and partner Cara, daughter Kate and husband Andrew and their children Nina-Rose and Lulu. They meant everything to him, and he was immensely proud of them. Michael often referred to his 200+ staff as the Mushroom Family, with many having clocked decades in his employment.

Michael’s legacy will live on through his family and the enormously successful Mushroom Group – an enduring embodiment of decades of passion and determination from an incredible man.

The family respectfully ask for privacy in this incredibly difficult time and thank everyone for their support.

Please note there will be no further comment at this time.