Marvin Gaye's Unreleased Music Collection Found in Belgium

The legendary soul singer spent time in the European country before his death in 1984.

40 years after the tragic death of  Marvin Gaye, a collection of his unreleased music has been discovered in Belgium, The Guardian reports.

Charles Dumolin, who arranged for Gaye to stay with him in Ostend Belgium in 1982 to break the chains of his drug addiction and revitalize his music career, is said to have more than 66 demo recordings on around 30 tapes of the famed singer’s work. Following Dumolin’s death in 2019, he left the recordings to his family along with Gaye memorabilia including stage costumes and notebooks.

When it was discovered that there was unreleased music of Gaye’s, the potential of a legal battle between the estate of Marvin Gaye and the Dumolin family became apparent.

Alex Trappeniers, a business partner of the Dumolin family, argues that the music is owned by the Dumolins.

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

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“We can open a time capsule here and share the music of Marvin with the world. It’s very clear,” Trappeniers added. “He’s very present.”

According to Trappeniers, one song he compared to a “moment of planetary alignment” was recorded before Gaye wrote his classic comeback song “Sexual Healing.”

Per Belgian law, material items become the property of the person who holds them, no matter how it was acquired, after 30 years. However, the law does not apply to intellectual property, which could make the Dumolin family adjudged owners of the tapes but with no legal rights to publish the songs. Those rights could fall to Gaye’s estate.

Trappeniers hopes that both parties can reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial.

“I think we both benefit, the family of Marvin and the collection in the hands of (Dumolin’s heirs),” Trappeniers said. “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.”

Regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time, Gaye helped to make Motown “The Sound of Young America.” Known for his classic songs such as  "Ain't That Peculiar", "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)", and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” His duets with Tammi Terrell, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By,” are considered timeless recordings. 

Many regard  Gaye’s What’s Going On as one the best albums ever. Also, his other seminal LPs,  Let’s Get It On, I Want You, and Midnight Love exemplify the “Prince of Soul’s” artistry.

Gaye was shot and killed by his father while intervening in a domestic dispute between his parents in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984,  a day before his 45th birthday.

In 1987, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Gaye would have turned 85 on April 2.

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