Let’s get it on: travel in the footsteps of Marvin Gaye with this new app

In 1980, famous singer Marvin Gaye’s life was as at an all-time low. He was depressed, in the midst of a divorce, and even attempted suicide. He owned the IRS millions in back taxes, was having difficulties with Motown Records and was in the throes of a drug addiction.

Fortunately for us, Ostend-born Freddy Cousaert, a passionate music fan and soul lover, arranged a meeting with him in London and during this meeting he invited Marvin to Ostend to get his life back on track.

On February 14, 1981 Marvin Gaye and his son Bubby arrived by boat in Ostend and began a long and rich history with the town.

To celebrate the connection, Toerisme Oostende has launched a mobile app to take guests on a tour of Ostend. During a walking tour of the city, travelers learn all there is to know about Gaye’s recovery and how the monster hit “Sexual Healing” came about.

“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,” Crousaert said.

Gaye’s 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.

The tour is available in Dutch, French, English and German, and available on rented iPods for 5 from the tourism office.