For the last 40 years Marvin Gaye has enjoyed a level of enduring fame which he shares with only a handful of other artists – like Elvis, or the Beatles.

They began their careers cutting records on vinyl discs, lived on through the eras of tape cassettes and CDs, and continue to thrive in the age of digital streaming.

It is 40 years since Marvin Gaye died in Los Angeles – shot dead by his father in the middle of a violent domestic dispute.

But his music is still streamed and downloaded around 20 million times a month, and his classic duet with Tammi Terrell, Ain’t No Mountain, has been streamed more than a billion times.

So the value of a cache of audio tapes containing new material recorded by Marvin Gaye could be huge. They’re part of a strange treasure trove of material associated with the star which lay hidden in Belgium for more than forty years, but which may now be about to make global headlines.

The story of Marvin’s Belgian connection has been told before.

He was living in London and becoming a heavy user of cocaine when he met a Belgian concert promoter in a nightclub. He took the promoter’s business card and a week later called and arranged to move to the coastal city of Ostend. He got fit again, jogging and cycling on the flat North Sea landscape, and he returned to the studio, recording one of his greatest hits, Sexual Healing.

For a time he lived in the home of a Belgian musician, Charles Dumolin. The collection of stage costumes, notebooks and tape cassettes is now in the hands of Charles’ family.

But now the BBC can disclose the intriguing possibility that Marvin may have recorded previously unheard new music in the same period, which has lain hidden in Belgium for more than forty years.

Belgian lawyer Alex Trappeniers, who’s a business partner of the family who lay claim to the material, is in no doubt that the fate of a hugely valuable collection of stage costumes, notebooks and never-before heard music is

By gvoice

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