The State Memorial to Mushroom founder Michael Gudinski wasn’t just a farewell. It was a celebration of the industry he helped create.
Over the past 50 years Michael Gudinski molded the template that became the platform for the Australian music industry to operate in. He created Mushroom Records to record the artists. He created Premier Artists so the acts could perform live. He created Mushroom Publishing so songwriters could thrive. He created Frontier Touring so Australians had access to the world’s greatest entertainers.
While Michael Gudinski is no longer with us, his legacy will continue to drive the Australian music industry well into the 21st century.
Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena was a fitting spot to remember the Australian music juggernaut. Over decades he put on hundreds of concerts in the building from The Rolling Stones, to Springsteen, to Cold Chisel, Neil Young and Eagles.
And so last night, the thoughts of a global industry were condensed into a reflection of respect for a man who could visualize and implement multiple tasks simultaneously. He could work equally with unknown artists to politicians always projecting that if you could think it you could do it. That will be his legacy.
The greatest stars in the world spoke via video message at the Gudinski State Memorial. Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Billy Joel, Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon, Taylor Swift were just some of the artists who paid tribute to Gudinski. Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme would have won the “best story of the night” award if there was one.
Jimmy Barnes and Ed Sheeran both performed new songs written for Michael. Jimmy debuted ‘Flesh and Blood’ while Ed was brought to tears debuting ‘Visiting Hours’. Sheeran said he wrote the song last week while on quarantine. The lyric “I wish that heaven had visiting hours”.
Sheeran also performed ‘All the Lovers’ and ‘Loco-Motion’ with Kylie Minogue. Kylie pointed out that Ed wasn’t even born when she first recorded her 1987 hit for Michael’s Mushroom Records.
As this was a State Memorial, political protocols had to be followed. Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau spoke of her friendship with Michael and four former State Premiers were acknowledged to be in the audience.
Mahalia Barnes sang the National Anthem and joined her father Jimmy Barnes for his Chisel classic “When The War Is Over’.
Radio icon Lee Simon, one of Michael and Sue Gudinski’s closest friends, officiated the Memorial but the surprise star of the show was Rabbi Memachem Wolf, whose words crossed over all denominations. (And I think he may have managed to slip an F word in there too).
Michael’s son and daughter Matt and Kate gave heartfelt speeches for their dad showcasing that Michael, above all, was a family man first and foremost. Kate’s emotional recollections of her father were an unforgettable and touching part of the evening.
As Rabbi Wolf explained, Michael Solomon Gudinski moved to another dimension of 2 March 2021 but he remains around us everywhere.
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