|MILESAGO - Industry - Record Labels|
Other than Festival Records no local company has had such a dramatic impact on Australian popular music as Michael Gudinski's Mushroom label. Although it struggled as a minor player for its first two years, it had a major effect on the direction of Australian music because of the many important acts it signed, and because of its intimate business connections with what became the leading east coast agency, Premier Artists.
Mushroom evolved from Premier's immediate ancestor, Consolidated Rock, which was formed by Michael Gudinski and Ray Evans in 1971. Con. Rock was itself formed when Gudinski and Evans' merged their previous agency Australian Entertainment Exchange with the Drum, the agency which had been set up by The Masters Apprentices in 1970 aftger their split from previous manager Darryl Sambell.
The fledgling label's inaugural release in February 1973 was Madder Lake's Goodbye Lollipop. The inaugural album release, issued in April 1975, was typically ambitious -- a triple album compilation of live tracks from the previous January's Sunbury Festival. The first year of Musroom's output reflected the diverse rage bands Gudinski and Evans had signed -- Madder Lake, Friends, Bobby James Syndicate, Chain, Matt Taylor, Ray Brown's One Ton Gypsy, Ayers Rock, The Dingoes, Sid Rumpo, Buster Brown.
Although Madder Lake's debut single was a notable success, providing the label with its first hit, Mushroom struggled to gain airplay on radio for its various acts for the first eighteen months of its existence, and even critically lauded releases like those of The Dingoes were all but ignored by commerical programmers.
The label might well have folded had it not been for the signing of an up-and-coming Melbourne art-rock band called Skyhooks, who were championed by former Daddy Cool supremo Ross Wilson. Wilson signed them to his publishing company, convinced Gudinski to sign them to Mushroom and produced their debut album and single. Released in August 1974, it shot to the top of the charts around the country.