66 unreleased Marvin Gaye songs found on forgotten tapes in Belgium

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    (March 30, 2024) The BBC reports today that cassette recordings of never released music of Marvin Gaye, hidden for more than four decades, has been found in Belgium (see BBC article).

    The location of the tape is not as crazy as it sounds, as Gaye relocated to a coastal town in the European country in the early 80s, and recorded one of his most famous songs, “Sexual Healing,” there. And for a period he lived in the home of Charles Dumolin, a local musician.

    The family of Dumolin, who died in 2019, says that Gaye gave to him many of the clothes and knick-knacks he held while there. But included in that stash were cassette tapes with more than 60 song demos recorded in Belgium – of varying lengths and stages of completion – none of which have been publicly heard before.

    (March 30, 2024) The BBC reports today that cassette recordings of never released music of Marvin Gaye, hidden for more than four decades, has been found in Belgium (see BBC article).

    The location of the tape is not as crazy as it sounds, as Gaye relocated to a coastal town in the European country in the early 80s, and recorded one of his most famous songs, “Sexual Healing,” there. And for a period he lived in the home of Charles Dumolin, a local musician.

    The family of Dumolin, who died in 2019, says that Gaye gave to him many of the clothes and knick-knacks he held while there. But included in that stash were cassette tapes with more than 60 song demos recorded in Belgium – of varying lengths and stages of completion – none of which have been publicly heard before.

    Of course, the veracity of the “gift” story is in question, since both parties (Gaye and Dumolin) are gone. Just as importantly, the legal rights to the music are unclear, and Gaye’s descendents have shown their propensity to litigate (see Mark Ronson) when they feel that their father’s work is being used by others without just compensation.

    The attorney for Dumolin’s family, who teases that he believes there are potential international hits among the songs on the tape, indicates that he would like to reach agreement with Gaye’s estate for the right to finish and release the music. But, given the history and the odd circumstances here, we expect that there could be a long, complicated battle before we hear one note of the lost music.

    By Chris Rizik

     
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