Never-before-heard Marvin Gaye music found in Belgium

A wealth of Marvin Gaye music that has never been heard before has been found in Belgium.

The unreleased music has potentially lain hidden in Belgium for over 40 years, according to the BBC, alongside what is likely a highly valuable collection of stage costumes and notebooks.

Gaye moved to the coastal city of Ostend in 1981 after taking the business card of a Belgian concert promoter in a nightclub while he was living in London. At the time, he was a heavy cocaine user, but his move to Belgium helped him to beat his addiction. It was also during this time that he recorded one of his biggest hits, ‘Sexual Healing’.

For a time, he lived at the home of a Belgian musician, Charles Dumolin, and it is Dumolin’s family who are claiming ownership of the material.

“They belong to [the family] because they were left in Belgium 42 years ago,” said Belgian lawyer Alex Trappeniers. “Marvin gave it to them and said, ‘Do whatever you want with it’ and he never came back. That’s important.

“Each time a new instrumental started when Marvin started singing, I gave it a number,” he added. “At the end when I had listened to all the 30 tapes I had 66 demos of new songs. A few of them are complete and a few of them are as good as ‘Sexual Healing’, because it was made in the same time.

“There was one song that when I listened to it for ten seconds I found the music was in my head all day, the words were in my head all day, like a moment of planetary alignment.”

Marvin Gaye. CREDIT: Rob Verhorst/Redferns

The family of Dumolin, who died in 2019, undoubtedly own the collection, particularly in light of a Belgian law that stipulates that any property becomes yours after 30 years, regardless of how it is acquired. This, however, doesn’t apply to intellectual property, meaning Trappeniers and his partners could end up as the owners of the physical tapes on which the music was recorded, without the right to publish the songs.

Meanwhile, Gaye’s heirs in the United States might theoretically have the rights to the music but would be unable to access it without owning the tapes.

Trappeniers said he thought a compromise was due. “I think we both benefit, the family of Marvin and the collection in the hands of [Dumolin’s heirs]. If we put our hands together and find the right people in the world, the Mark Ronsons or the Bruno Mars…. I’m not here to make suggestions but to say ‘OK, let’s listen to this and let’s make the next album’,” he said.

“Morally,” he says, “I’d like to work with the family but this is the nightmare for them… that someone comes from a country where there’s a lot of money and we make an agreement and this collection leaves this country.”

Last year, the estate of Gaye’s co-writer and co-producer Ed Townsend officially withdrew their appeal in the years-long Ed Sheeran plagiarism lawsuit that was first filed in 2016 and was seemingly put to rest in May with Sheeran being awarded the victory.

In May, Sheeran was declared not guilty of plagiarism in a case filed by heirs of Ed Townsend in 2016 over the estate’s claims that the ‘Thinking Out Loud’ singer copied Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’.

The post Never-before-heard Marvin Gaye music found in Belgium appeared first on NME.

More Music News
Scroll to Top