Origins of Marvin Gaye soul classics unearthed

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The Independent Culture

They are the original manuscripts in which Marvin Gaye scribbled his most iconic soul ballads including "Heard it Through the Grapevine", "Mercy Mercy Me" and "Let's Get it On" which he carried with him throughout his illustrious career. But before he died, the manuscripts - with the lyrics of 20 songs written in Gaye's own handwriting including his notes on the side and a characteristic stamp of his name in green ink - were given to a friend and forgotten about until they recently emerged in London.

Gaye brought much of his musical oeuvre to Britain in the early 1980s after leaving the United States, to revive his musical career in Europe. Four blue leather portfolios containing nearly all of the major music arrangements in Gaye's repertoire, will be sold at auction next Wednesday by The Fame Bureau, an organisation dedicated to unearthing international memorabilia.

The sale, entitled "It's More Than Rock 'n' Roll", will consist of 160 lots including Madonna's "cone" black satin bustier worn on her "Who's That Girl" tour, the original Rolling Stones Tongue artwork, and Elvis Presley's 1960s Cherry Sunburst guitar.

Gaye's manuscripts are considered one of the most precious items in the sale, comprising of hand-annotated musical arrangements for some of the most iconic songs in the history of the Motown record label.

They were not known to exist until recently, when it was discovered that, prior to his death in April 1984, the musical sheets were given by Gaye to a friend as a gesture of gratitude for the support he had received after he resurrected his career in London and Europe.

Gaye's manager, Gloria Byart, spoke of her relationship with the singer after he left the United States for London. "Marvin came to the UK after his musical career began to wane in the US. This is where I met him and we began working together. With his determination and focus we were able to get his career back on track through interviews and performing," she said.

Meanwhile, Jimi Hendrix's Fender Stratocaster guitar from the 1960s and John Lennon's beige mohair suit worn at a 1963 Beatles performance at the London Palladium will feature among other rock and pop memorabilia on sale.

Lennon's hand-made suit, which has black rope piping along the collar, was donated to the first Beatles display at Madame Tussaud's waxworks in 1964. It was recently rediscovered at a Madame Tussaud's warehouse and was previously believed to have been destroyed or missing.

A white jumpsuit worn by an Abba member and another worn by the BeeGees will feature among the more kitsch items on sale, as well as a preppy Beach Boys blue and white striped shirt.

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