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Ostend, the blowy Belgian resort on the North Sea, has international aspirations and Marvin Gaye , the late prince of Motown, has emerged as central to realising them. In February , struggling with drink and drug dependency and being chased by the IRS over a multimillion-dollar tax bill, the year-old singer-songwriter took the ferry from England to the faded fishing town.
He was expected to stay for a few weeks in the family home of the music promoter and hotel owner Freddy Cousaert. But Gaye ended up living in the down-at-heel resort for nearly 18 months, during which he penned one of his biggest hits, Sexual Healing, from his seafront rooms at the Residence Jane apartment block. Gaye would have turned 80 this April. There is even talk of a Marvin Gaye museum. A big movie would be it. The walkumentary is very nice but to really make tourism out of it we really need a museum.
If you are a big Marvin Gaye fan and you want to spend a weekend in Ostend then the walkumentary is two hours, but you need to offer more than that. We have had talks with some people — nothing concrete — who still have some material about him and there are possibilities but building up a museum is quite a big thing to do. Hens said Dre had not yet made contact with the town, but a call would not be entirely unexpected.
Kravitz was here in Ostend doing research and we did the tour with him. The family contacted him and he backed off. Gaye turned around his health while in Ostend, running on the wide open beach, playing basketball in the local courts and avoiding the temptations of Los Angeles, where he would die in at the hands of his father in the mansion he had bought for his parents.
Marc Van den Kerchove, 58, the owner of the Taverne Floride, a bar on the wide Albert I promenade frequented by Gaye, said a film would be a massive boost to the town. We get a lot of his fans from all over in here, from Japan, America, everywhere.