At Wednesday’s state memorial service, the late Michael Gudinski was celebrated by musicians and friends alike.
Performers from all over the world gathered at Rod Laver Arena and online to celebrate the life of Michael Gudinski AM: Chairman of the Mushroom Group and Aussie music industry legend who passed away on March 2nd.
The service included performances from Mushroom associated local acts Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, and Paul Kelly. Multiple international artists including Taylor Swift, Billy Joel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Shawn Mendes, Bruce Springsteen, and Sting also sent in touching video tributes.
Ed Sheeran gave an emotional performance of a new song he had written during quarantine, at one point even breaking down in tears. Sheeran also played his song Castle On A Hill, explaining that it was Gudinski’s favourite.
“He must have misheard the lyric because he started, from that point, screaming whenever he saw me: ‘We were younger then’,” remembered Sheeran. “I never told him it was actually ‘I was younger then’.”
Of course @edsheeran flew here and quarantined for 2 weeks just to perform at Michael Gudinski’s memorial. Could’ve phoned it in over zoom, but didn’t. Bloody great guy.
— Keegs (@keegs) March 24, 2021
The service was held at Rod Laver Arena, packed out for the first time since COVID-19 hit last year.
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I hope every politician is watching Michael Gudinski’s memorial, to see how much Australian music means to the world and how important it is to the fabric of our country. Coming out of Covid, it needs government support more than ever #michaelgudinski
— Dom Alessio (@domalessio) March 24, 2021
Kylie Minogue performed her 1987 hit Loco-Motion with Sheeran and movingly said of Gudinski: “Michael, the ‘Big G’, took this little girl from Melbourne to the world, and back home again.”
No one would have been able to bring Paul Kelly, Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue, and Mark Seymour on stage together, smashing tambourines while Jimmy Barnes belts out Good Times, except Michael Gudinski. What a beautiful and fitting memorial. Rest easy MG 🤘🏼 #MichaelGudinski pic.twitter.com/m7O7QxUeav
— Dani Brown (@itsdanibrown) March 24, 2021
It was also announced on Wednesday that The Australian Recording Industry Association would be renaming an award after Gudinski because of his contribution to Aussie music.
We are very pleased to rename one of the most coveted ARIA Awards in Michael Gudinski’s honour. The inaugural ‘Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist ARIA Award’ will be presented at this year’s 2021 ARIA Awards.
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) March 23, 2021
“It is unequivocal that Michael’s passion was breaking Australian artists and putting them on a world stage and he had a proud history of success in doing so” said Denis Handlin AO, Chairman of ARIA.
Annabelle Herd, CEO of ARIA announced the following statement, “On recommendation of the ARIA Chairman and fully endorsed by the ARIA Board, we are very pleased to rename one of the most coveted ARIA Awards in Michael Gudinski’s honour. The inaugural ‘Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist ARIA Award’ will be presented for the first time at this year’s 2021 ARIA Awards.”