Unheard Marvin Gaye Recordings Found In Belgium, Legal Fight Expected

Posted by

A collection of previously unheard Marvin Gaye recordings has surfaced in Belgium, as the BBC reports. The 30 or so tapes apparently have 66 demos of new songs that Gaye recorded while in the country in the early ’80s. He left the tapes with Charles Dumolin, a musician who housed Gaye during his time in Belgium. The Dumolin family is working with a lawyer to figure out what to do with the tapes.

“They belong to [the family] because they were left in Belgium 42 years ago,” that lawyer, Alex Trappeniers, told BBC. “Marvin gave it to them and said, ‘Do whatever you want with it’ and he never came back. That’s important.” There’s a Belgian law that states any property in one’s possession, even if it’s stolen, becomes yours after 30 years, but that does not extend to intellectual property.

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. “It’s very clear. He’s very present.”

“I think we both benefit, the family of Marvin and the collection in the hands of [Dumolin’s heirs],” Trappeniers continued. “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.”

Lawyers representing the Marvin Gaye estate has been made aware of the existence of the tapes, though it’s unclear if they are looking to negotiate. Gaye’s estate has been litigious in the past — there was a lawsuit surrounding Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I.’s “Blurred Lines,” which we just covered in our The Number Ones column.