Kylie Minogue, Ed Sheeran and Jimmy Barnes perform at Michael Gudinski's state memorial

Taylor Swift, Billy Joel and Elton John were among a raft of stars to lead tributes at the state memorial for Australian music industry titan Michael Gudinski.

British singer Ed Sheeran, who was granted an exemption to fly into Australia with his family, headlined a star-studded cast of live performers for Wednesday night’s send-off at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Sheeran opened with Castle On the Hill, saying it became a personal favourite of Gudinksi after Sheeran played it for the Mushroom Records founder and his wife Sue at their Port Douglas home in 2015.

“He must have misheard the lyric because he started, from that point, screaming whenever he saw me ‘we were younger then’,” Sheeran recalled.

“I never told him it was actually ‘I was younger then’.”

Alongside Sheeran, there were live performances by Mushroom-associated Australian acts Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly, Mark Seymour, Vika and Linda Bull and Mia Wray.

Before raising spirits with a Sheeran-aided duet of her 1987 hit The Loco-motion, the Australian queen of pop credited Gudinski with kickstarting her critically acclaimed music career.

“Michael, the ‘Big G’, took this little girl from Melbourne to the world, and back home again,” Minogue said.

Taylor Swift, Billy Joel, Elton John and Sting were just some of the international megastars to post video tributes aired on the night.

“We will cherish his memory. Shine on you crazy man,” said Elton, who trusted Gudinski to oversee his final Australian tour last year.

Bruce Springsteen said Gudinski was the last of a dying breed of music promoters.

“When you thought of Australia, you thought of Michael,” the US rock legend said.

“He was a music man. Michael wasn’t just excited about the receipts, he was excited about the show.”

The 15,000-seat arena was packed for its first music event since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, with those who missed out on tickets tuning in online.

In-person speakers on the night included Victorian governor Linda Dessau, Rabbi Menachem Wolf, and Gudinski’s two children, Matt and Kate.

“He was full of life and some would say he lived 10 lives in one,” Matt Gudinski said.

“There was only one Michael Gudinski and they’ll never be another one like him.”

Gudinski was a godfather figure of the Australian music scene, having founded independent label Mushroom Records in May 1972.

He died suddenly in his sleep on 2 marzo, invecchiato 68.

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