In 1981, Marvin Gaye relocated to Ostend, Belgium. And someone had the brilliant idea to film the journey.
The magnitude of Marvin’s celebrity was unaware by many residents of Ostend. They were the least bit concerned with his IRS troubles, his sex-symbol status, failed marriage, label disagreements or the fact several close confidants expected Marvin’s dependencies would lead to his offshore death, a la Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Many had no clue who he was.
In a sense, the feeling of isolation was the perfect prescription Gaye needed to clear his mind and realize what his life and music were truly meant to symbolize. He equated to no more than just another citizen who filled his lungs with the coastal air while quietly cleansing himself of demons and drugs.
The 40-minute clip is an explicit voyage into rehab, both in and out of the boxing ring and basketball court where Gaye felt fully at peace. Throughout the self-narrated documentary, Marvin begins work on what would become the massively successful Midnight Love album, commonly recognized by the iconic single, “Sexual Healing.” Truly compelling, unfiltered and raw footage, to say the least, the Belgium retreat era of Marvin’s existence provides a haunting glimpse into how transparent and efficient his mind and spirit briefly became.
Related — Troubled Man (by Gregory Katz)