40 years after his death: 30 cassettes with new music by Marvin Gaye discovered in our country



Almost 40 years after his death, new music has emerged from American soul singer Marvin Gaye. It concerns 30 cassettes – good for 13 hours of music – that were left behind in Belgium after he had lived here for a while. Discussions will start on Monday with the singer’s relatives about possibly releasing the music.

It is February 14, 1981 when Marvin Gaye docks by boat in Ostend. After hits like ‘I heard it through the grapevine’, things were not going well for him privately. His second marriage had just ended, he was battling a cocaine addiction and he was in debt. He came to Ostend to relax. 

After staying with Freddy Cousaert’s family for a while , he falls in love with an 18th century castle villa in Moere, a sub-municipality of Gistel. The house belonged to the Mestdagh family and was for sale at the time. The sale would be officially arranged later, that was the agreement, but Marvin Gaye already moved in.

When he had to leave our country abruptly 6 months later, in August 1982, due to visa problems, he left the house – and all its contents – behind. The Mestdagh family – who still own the house because the sale had not yet been completed – must look for a new buyer. When cleaning up they find a lot of stuff: from costumes to texts to diaries.

Documents, costumes and cassettes

The family keeps and cherishes some items. For years on end. Until a few years ago she thought it was time to do something with the material. She goes to lawyer Alex Trappeniers, specialized in the music industry and copyright. He studied the collection intently. A feat.

This includes 216 documents, about fifty costumes and accessories, but also – and perhaps even more importantly – 30 cassettes with music. “I listened to everything and wrote it down second by second,” says Trappeniers. “Also, every time I heard a new demo, I made a note of it.”

The result is astonishing: it concerns 66 pieces of music, including 38 with his own voice, the lawyer says. “Some of them are really full-fledged songs,” it sounds. All from the same period as ‘Sexual healing’, the hit he made here in Belgium. “I think one song on the cassettes is even as strong as that one hit.”


Written by: Oldies Online Radio

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