Aussie music icon Michael Gudinski dies aged 68

The music industry is in shock following the death of music promoter Michael Gudinski. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian
The music industry is in shock following the death of music promoter Michael Gudinski. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian

Australian music industry icon Michael Gudinski passed away unexpectedly on Monday night.

Gudinski, 68, was last seen in public on January 30 at the Sounds Better Together concert in Mallacoota where he introduced Kylie Minogue, and attended the Australian Open in February.

Made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006, Gudinski is survived by wife Sue and children Matt and Kate and two grandchildren.

His death comes as a major shock as Gudinski had enjoyed one of the busiest years of his career, despite his touring business taking a major blow after COVID shut down the live music industry.

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Kylie Minogue and Michael Gudinski in Mallacoota on January 30. Picture: Mushroom Group
Kylie Minogue and Michael Gudinski in Mallacoota on January 30. Picture: Mushroom Group


David Campbell, whose father Jimmy Barnes worked closely with Gudinski, described him as "a giant".

"This is truly devastating news," he said.

"Not just for the music industry which he built nearly single handedly, but for his family, who he adored."

Radio presenter Myf Warhurst said she was "utterly shocked" at Gudinski's passing.

"Such a character and so full of life," she said.

"What an extraordinary legacy he leaves. My condolences to his family."

In 2020 Gudinski pulled together the Music From the Home Front TV concert in just nine days, recruiting acts including Jimmy Barnes, Crowded House, James Reyne, Mark Seymour and Kate Ceberano to perform.

Michael and Sue Gudinski. Picture: David Caird
Michael and Sue Gudinski. Picture: David Caird

In recent months he had been working on another concert for Anzac Day this year.

Last year Gudinski also launched the online concert series The State of Music, to support Victorian musicians who had lost live work, paying them to perform for a digital audience.

That then spawned ABC TV show The Sound, which ran for two series.

Gudinski famously launched Kylie Minogue's music career, signing her to Mushroom and releasing Locomotion in 1987, which went on to become the highest-selling Australian single of the decade. He has promoted every one of Minogue's Australian tours, with the superstar catching up with Gudinski while she has been in Melbourne this year.

Gudinski's career in music began by promoting dances as a teenager before forming his first booking agency in 1970.

Michael Gudinski with Missy Higgins, Paul Dempsey (Something For Kate) and Gordi at the Sounds Better Together launch. Picture: Rob Leeson
Michael Gudinski with Missy Higgins, Paul Dempsey (Something For Kate) and Gordi at the Sounds Better Together launch. Picture: Rob Leeson


He launched Mushroom Records in 1972 and had been gearing up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company in 2022, the same year he would have turned 70.

Mushroom launched with a triple live vinyl album recorded at the Sunbury Music Festival in 1973 - Gudinski recently reissued the record on coloured triple vinyl.

Through Mushroom Gudinski had massive success with Split Enz, Jimmy Barnes, Minogue, Frente, Archie Roach, Models, Yothu Yindi and the Angels, and international success with Peter Andre and Garbage.

Michael Gudinski at his home surrounded by Mushroom vinyl. Picture: Tony Gough
Michael Gudinski at his home surrounded by Mushroom vinyl. Picture: Tony Gough

He also ran Frontier Touring, who have toured acts including Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, the Police, Billy Joel and Ed Sheeran since forming in 1979. As well as his family and music, Gudinski's other passion was his AFL team St Kilda and horse racing, he became a three time Melbourne Cup winner last year when Twilight Payment won.

Owners Gerry Ryan and Michael Gudinski celebrate their Melbourne Cup win. Picture: Josie Hayden
Owners Gerry Ryan and Michael Gudinski celebrate their Melbourne Cup win. Picture: Josie Hayden

Originally published as Aussie music icon Michael Gudinski dies aged 68



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