Marvin Gaye s career was in a doldrums at the time. He was depressed and even attempted suicide. Marvin was having trouble at various levels: he owned the IRS millions in back taxes, there was the long drawn-out divorce from Anna Gordy, other family problems with his second wife Janis, difficulties with Motown Records, and on top of all this, he was in the throes of a drug addiction. Ostend-born Freddy Cousaert, a passionate music fan and soul lover, arranged a meeting with him in London. During this meeting he invited Marvin to Ostend to get his life back on track.
"One week after that first meeting he tried to call me at home. I wasn't in, but my wife spent half an hour on the phone talking to him. He sounded depressed, she said. When I rang him up he was in Brighton. Marvin loved the rain and the wind, the honesty of the sea. When I told him that all this and more was available plentifully in Ostend, he immediately decided to visit Ostend for two weeks. We set up an apartment for him and cared for him as if he was a member of the family. The two weeks turned into a month, and the rest is history. “
On February 14th 1981 Marvin Gaye and his son Bubby arrived by boat in Ostend. He spent his first weeks in an apartment that the Cousaert family arranged for him. This is the beginning of a fascinating story about Ostend, and about Marvin Gaye and the relationship between the two.
Toerisme Oostende vzw launched a mobile app which takes you on a tour of Ostend, in the footsteps of the great Marvin Gaye during his Ostend period. During a walking tour of the city, you learn all there is to knowabout his recovery and how the monster hit "Sexual Healing" came about. A varied tour elaborates on this local story, and on the larger international scope.
The story is told through a mix of moving images taken from existing archival footage, completed with photos, newspaper clippings and interviews with the people involved, by a narrator . The walk is introduced by none other than the famous Jamie Lidell. He is the ideal representative of a new generation of soul musicians who were heavily influenced by Marvin Gaye’s music.
Available in Dutch, French, German and English.
Toerisme Oostende vzw rents out iPods.
€ 5 per person
© foto Jean-Jacques Soenen