Unreleased Marvin Gaye Music Uncovered in Belgium

The 66 demos were left in Belgium over 40 years ago.

Music
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A treasure trove of unreleased music from the late Marvin Gaye were uncovered in Ostend, Belgium, after more than 40 years in hiding.

According to reports, the collection includes approximately 66 demos spread across 30 tapes. It belonged to musician Charles Dumolin, who opened up his home to Gaye in 1981 while the late artist was detoxing and fighting a cocaine addiction. The tapes were kept with Dumolin’s family following his death in 2019, but there is now an issue over the recordings’ rightful ownership.

“[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,” Belgian lawyer Alex Trappeniers, who is a business partner of the Dumolins, said to BBC. “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 10 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.”

BBC explained that under Belgian law, an item becomes the property of a person who has it after 30 years, irrespective of how the person acquired the item. Intellectual property does not fall under this law, however, and therefore does not allow the Dumolin family to publish the unreleased material even if they own the physical recordings. While the Gaye family has the right to widely release the music, they are unable to do so without the physical tapes.

“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,’” Trappeniers added.

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