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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Should Unreleased Marvin Gaye Get The Posthumous Treatment?

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Marvin Gaye Performs At Radio City

Source: Gary Gershoff / Getty


The legacy of late soul icon Marvin Gaye is one that fans must commemorate with an extreme sense of bittersweetness. Aside from the heartbreaking details surrounding his untimely murder at the age of 44 years old on April 1, 1984, which includes the chilling fact that he was murdered by his very own father, the loss becomes even more gut-wrenching when you add that it occurred just one day before what would’ve been his 45th birthday (April 2, 1984).

So, as many people yesterday found their own special ways to honor the 40 years since losing a man known lovingly as the “Prince of Motown,” the tribute continues on today as we reflect on what very well could’ve been his 85th birthday — shoutout to our ageless aunties Shirley Caesar and Maxine Waters!



RELATED: Hear, My Dear: Rarities Hidden In Marvin Gaye’s Legacy You Should Know


Marvin Gaye made timeless tunes, so it only makes sense that his melodic prowess would still be present in some capacity if he were a living 85-year-old man today. However, what about the work that he didn’t mean for us to hear? Do fans deserve something fresh from the vault after four decades and counting of settling on the classics? That’s what been up for debate following recent news that stated unreleased Marvin Gaye music was recently discovered in Belgium.

More details below, via The Guardian:


“The collection, thought to contain 66 demo songs, belonged to the musician Charles Dumolin, in whose home Gaye stayed in 1981 as he underwent detox to fight cocaine addiction. When Dumolin died in 2019, the recordings were handed down to his family, along with a cache of Gaye memorabilia.

Debate has begun over whether Dumolin’s family have the right to keep the material.

Belgian law says that after 30 years, the material becomes the property of the person who holds it, regardless of how it was acquired. The law, however, does not apply to intellectual property, potentially creating a situation in which the Dumolin family are adjudged owners of the tapes but do not have the right to publish the songs. That right may instead belong to Gaye’s heirs in the United States.”


While no one wants another situation where rights to the music of a deceased musician are split between too many parties — late music legends Prince (1958 – 2016) and Aaliyah (1979 – 2001) are unfortunate prime examples — it seems like their may be room for negotiation between the Dumolin family and Gaye’s estate. The family’s business partner, Alex Trappeniers, says Marvin gave The Dumolins full rights to all material some 42 years ago and told them, “Do whatever you want with it.” They seem optimistic about releasing it though, with Trappeniers adding, “We can open a time capsule here and share the music of Marvin with the world. It’s very clear. He’s very present.”

Still, the question lingers around ownership, who has rights to what, how will potential royalties be distributed between parties and ultimately if it’s ethical to release music recorded by Gaye during one of the hardest periods in his life.

…if it means anything, that time period did give us “Sexual Healing.” Just saying!



May the memory of Marvin Gaye continue to soar on eternally as far as his timeless R&B classics can reach. Do you want to hear more though? Should we be allowed hear more? See what others are saying about the potential of unreleased Marvin Gaye music below, and let us know your thoughts as well:


1. That unreleased Marvin Gaye they just discovered should be in the property of his family not them Europeans

via @SleepSinai

2. What an incredible discovery! Marvin Gaye’s unreleased music is a treasure trove for fans and music historians alike.

via @Salman_AliMirza

3. Unreleased Marvin Gaye?! I will go and get these tapes myself

via @DreBeKnowing

4. first i have to say finding some cassette tapes with unreleased marvin gaye (!!!!) songs and demos on them would be unreal. second, the legal and music stuff is really interesting.

via @curlyfro

5. If I had a few million dollars laying around, I would buy these. 66 unreleased songs from Marvin Gaye is an easy purchase decision/investment.

via @nasescobar316

6. Them folks really been sitting on unreleased Marvin Gaye music for over 40 years, crazy to think we could possibly get new Marvin Gaye music in 2024 😮‍💨😮‍💨

via @Bigcricket24

7. usually I’d be frustrated that a music legend left part of their legacy to a non-family member, but considering his dad literally killed him, I guess I can see why he entrusted his music to someone outside of his family circle

via @TheDejaKing

8. I’m sorry what? Now THIS is an Easter I can get behind.

via @ButtonsOfYorn

9. Wow omg , we could get pure unreleased BRAND NEW Marvin Gaye music if this can go right 🥹

via @_rocceaux

10. this gotta be the worst type of person to be holding these 😭 just throw em on youtube & move on dawg

via @firstnamefree

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