Lost Marvin Gaye Tracks Found in Belgium

Belgian lawyer discusses legal intricacies of discovered Marvin Gaye collection.

by Zain ul Abedin
Lost Marvin Gaye Tracks Found in Belgium
© Angela Deane-Drummond/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A treasure trove of Marvin Gaye's previously unreleased music, believed to have been hidden away for over four decades, has come to light in Belgium, according to a report by the BBC. Alongside this musical revelation, a cache of invaluable stage costumes and notebooks has also been uncovered.

In a fascinating turn of events, the iconic voice behind classics like "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" relocated from London to Ostend, Belgium, back in 1981. Amidst personal turmoil and on the advice of producer Freddy Cousaert, Gaye found solace in Belgium, ultimately crafting one of his most enduring hits, "S----- Healing," which earned him two Grammy Awards from his 1982 album "Midnight Love." During his time in Belgium, Gaye resided in the home of Belgian musician Charles Dumolin, whose family now holds the discovered materials.

Reports suggest that among these finds could be previously unknown tracks recorded by the late artist during his Belgian sojourn, only surfacing now, years after his passing in 1984.

Legal Ownership Clarified

Speaking to the BBC, Belgian lawyer Alex Trappeniers, representing the Dumolin family, shed light on the legal complexities surrounding the uncovered trove.

Trappeniers explained, "It belongs to the family because it was left in Belgium 42 years ago. Marvin told him he left and said, 'Do with it what you will,' and never came back. That's the important thing." Trappeniers delved further, detailing his meticulous cataloging and listening process, which unearthed a wealth of potential musical gems.

"After having listened to all the 30 tapes, I had 66 demos of new songs. Some of them are complete and some of them are as good as 'S----- Healing'," he revealed. However, legal nuances complicate matters, as ownership rights diverge between physical possession and intellectual property.

While the Dumolin family may possess the tapes, Gaye's heirs in the US could hold rights to the music itself, leading to a potential impasse. Trappeniers remains hopeful for a collaborative resolution, suggesting partnerships with notable figures like Mark Ronson or Bruno Mars to bring these lost treasures to light.

"Morally, I would like to work with the family, but for them, this would be a nightmare," he remarked, highlighting the delicate balance between artistic legacy and legal entitlement.