The Australian music industry suffered a significant loss earlier this month with the death of Michael Gudinski, who was best known as the founder of Mushroom Records and Mushroom Group. An obituary in The Sydney Morning Herald described him as “one of the most significant and powerful players in the local music scene” and “a label boss, live music promoter, promoter of electronic dance music, music publisher, film and television producer, racehorse owner […] and passionate supporter of the St Kilda Football Club.”
Gudinski’s passing had a profound effect on many, including Ed Sheeran, who quarantined in Australia so he could perform at his memorial service today. At the event, Sheeran performed a new song that he finished writing while quarantining, called “Visiting Hours.”
Introducing the emotional track, Sheeran said, “In lockdown, I was able to have a guitar for quarantine. I always find the best way to process stuff is to write songs — be it good news, bad news, or whatever, and, yeah — here’s a song I finished last week.” Armed with an acoustic guitar, Sheeran began the tune, “I wish that heaven / Had visiting hours / So I just could show up / And bring good news / That she’s getting older / And I wish that you’d met her / The things that she’ll learn from me / I got them all from you.”
Immediately after strumming the last chord of the song, Sheeran wiped tears from his eyes and cried as he left the stage.
Following Gudinski’s passing, Sheeran took to Instagram to share a lengthy statement about Gudinski, along with photos of the two together. He wrote in part:
“It’s so hard to put into words how much Michael meant to me, and to all of us who knew him. I felt like I needed to try just so I could process it in my own head. […] We were, first and foremost, friends. He was a father figure and mentor to me. […] We holidayed many times with our families and together. We had late night, early morning talks, all over the world, from my house to his, from his hotel room to mine, in back of cars, planes, long walks. Every memory I have of him is so clear and precise, because every moment was electric. […]
The night he passed, I was very grateful to be able to share his favourite wine with him and say goodbye. […] Nothing will fill the void he left in our lives, but the memories we all have of him will live on. He’s everyone’s favourite story, and I will make sure I keep sharing all of my amazing stories I have of him. I’ve loved hearing everyone else’s this week. In between the tears there has been laughter and joy, remembering this Titan of a man.”
Watch Sheeran perform “Visiting Hours” above and find his post about Gudinski below.
Ed Sheeran is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.