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Marvin Gaye

Previously unheard Marvin Gaye recordings have surfaced in Belgium

01 April 2024, 12:28 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

BBC has reported that 30 tapes of unreleased Marvin Gaye songs have been discovered in Belgium, with legal proceedings to ensue in order to try and share them with the public.

In the '80s, musician Charles Dumolin gave Marvin Gaye a place to stay when he arrived in Belgium in order to rehabilitate himself from substance abuse. Following Dumolin's passing in 2019, the family's lawyer is trying work out what to do with the tapes.

Speaking to the BBC Alex Trappeniers, the family lawyer said: “They 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." He notes that this is important due to a Belgian law which states that any property in someone's possession – even if it’s stolen – becomes yours after 30 years. Because this does not apply to intellectual property, there may be a situation where the Dumolin family are indeed the owners of the tapes but will not have the right to publish the songs. This may instead belong to Gaye’s estate.

Recounting what is contained in the tapes, Trappeniers says: "Each time a new instrumental started when Marvin started singing, I gave it a number. 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."

He also notes a possibility of having some of the audio files enhanced in order to release a previously lost Gaye song, similar to The Beatles and "Now and Then". "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."

The Dumolin family hopes to reach some kind of compromise with Gaye’s estate in order to release the music. “We can open a time capsule here and share the music of Marvin with the world,” Trappeniers said, adding that it would be mutually beneficial for the Dumolin family, and Gaye's estate, if they "found the right people in the world, the Mark Ronsons or the Bruno Mars", and asked them to help create an album from the tapes.

Marvin Gaye's estate have been notified about the tapes, but are yet to share a statement.

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