Michael Gudinski, an Australian music industry icon who helped shape its sound for decades, has died aged 68.
The Mushroom Records owner and veteran tour promoter died of a heart attack at his home in Melbourne on Monday night, local media reported.
Gudinski was best known for championing local talent, helping to create stars such as Kylie Minogue and Jimmy Barnes.
He also brought some of the world’s biggest acts to Australia with his pioneering touring company.
Frontier Touring led the way in luring international stars to Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, among them Frank Sinatra and The Rolling Stones. In more recent times, it has brought out Bruce Springsteen and Ed Sheeran.
While Gudinski worked to globalise the Australian music scene, he was also heavily focused on local music.
With his record label in the 1970s and 1980s, he helped to promote Australian artists such as Skyhooks, The Choirboys and Paul Kelly as well as New Zealand band Split Enz.
The acts went on to define the sound of Australian pub rock.
His death has sparked an outpouring of tributes on social media from many high-profile Australians.
“He found and celebrated the music that became the soundtrack of our lives – and he loved it and danced it just as we did,” wrote broadcaster Virginia Trioli.
“Such a character and so full of life. What an extraordinary legacy he leaves,” said broadcaster Myf Warhurst.
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. (Tweet 1/5) pic.twitter.com/Mcck1GOcrX
— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) March 2, 2021
Many noted too Gudinski’s efforts in the past year to keep the industry afloat during the pandemic.
With concerts banned and music venues closed, Gudinski switched tack to create live music TV shows The Sound and State of Play – keeping bands in front of audiences.
Gudinski was awarded a string of industry accolades during his career, including the inaugural Industry Icon gong from the Australian Record Industry Association in 2013.
He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2006, and was also inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Music Victoria Awards of 2013.