Ed Sheeran breaks down in tears during touching tribute to Michael Gudinski

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.

michael gudinski

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’.”

The service was held at Rod Laver Arena, packed out for the first time since COVID-19 hit last year.


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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.” 

Sir Elton John via video said: “We will cherish his memory. Shine on you crazy man,” and Bruce Springsteen in his own virtual tribute said: “When you thought of Australia, you thought of Michael.”

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.

“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.”