Exactly forty years after the death of Marvin Gayestar of Soul and of theR&B killed by his father in Los Angeles on 1 April 1984 during a domestic dispute, one of the most beautiful pages in the history of music could be written.

His songs are still much loved and listened to today, so much so that they generate over 20 million streams every month.

There BBC reveals that a considerable part of his production, still unpublished, may have remained hidden for over forty years in Belgium, preserved by the musician’s family Charles Dumolinwith whom Marvin had lived during his stay in Ostend in the early 1980s.

The Belgian lawyer and partner of the Dumolin family, Alex Trappeniersis convinced that the fate of this material, which also includes stage costumes, notebooks and unreleased songs, has yet to be established. For him there are no doubts about ownership: before returning to the States, in fact, Marvin left everything to the Dumolin saying, “Do with it what you will.”

But at the center of this story is that new music, never heard before, which according to Trappeniers could contain songs of comparable quality to hits like “Sexual Healing“, written in the same period. The lawyer, who says he listened to 30 tapes for a total of 66 songs, played the reporters of BBC some recordings, studio tests in which – they say – the Prince of Motown almost seemed to come back to life. “There’s a song – says Alex – that after listening to it for 10 seconds stayed in my head all day”.

A Belgian law states that any object owned for more than 30 years, even if stolen, becomes the property of its owner. But it does not apply to intellectual property. So Alex Trappeniers and co could find themselves owners of the physical tapes on which the music was recorded, without the right to publish the songs. And Marvin Gaye’s US heirs could find themselves with the theoretical right to exploit the music, but with no ability to access it, because they don’t own the tapes.

According to Alex the need for some kind of compromise is obvious. “I think we will both benefit from this, Marvin’s family and the Dumolin heirs.”

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