Marvin Gaye in Ostend


On this day in 2016, this post was one of my first on – albeit in German. For the anniversary of Gaye’s death day on April 1st (and birthday on the 2nd) here’s an English version, with the film about his two year stay on the Belgian coast still available.

Ever since I discovered it in the internet years ago, I’ve watched the documentary about Marvin Gaye in Ostend many times and told a lot of friends about it. At just under an hour, it’s a stunning portrayal of a unique, beautiful and ultimately tragic artist.

After a UK tour in 1981, Gaye was on the run, from debt, from marriage, drug-related  problems, depression, from himself, and stranded in the seaside resort. The Belgian promoter Freddy Cousaert took care of the singer, and Richard Olivier filmed him.

Gaye on a ferry, on the promenade, jogging in the dunes, playing darts with locals – and singing, in a studio, in an empty concert hall and even a church … and he is always the troubled man. One can see it in his face, and hear it when he speaks about it all himself.

After staying in Belgium for two years, Marvin Gaye returned home and died tragically soon after. He would be 80 this year. His music remains as relevant as ever, and he’d like that. As Gaye himself says in the film: „A true artist is only interested in one thing: To have mankind realize there is something greater than we see on the surface.“