It's been a great seventieth-birthday year for Wim Wenders. After earning an Academy Award nomination for his 2014 documentary The Salt of the Earth, Wenders received an honorary Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. Then, following his birthday in August, he headed to New York to kick off Wim Wenders: Portraits Along the Road, a Janus Films touring retrospective of his work. In the months since, he’s released his latest feature, Every Thing Will Be Fine, exhibited a new photography series at the Blain Southern gallery in Berlin, and copresented a multimedia exhibition with his wife, Donata Wenders, at Polka Galerie, in Paris.
And now the Wenders celebrations continue. As a birthday surprise, a group of Wenders’s friends decided to make him a one-of-a-kind vinyl recording of his favorite musical artists and collaborators. Originally intended to be a single LP featuring only a handful of musicians, Wim’s — Driven by Music now boasts thirty-six artists, including Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Portishead, U2, Ry Cooder, SQÜRL, Bonnie Prince Billy, and Radiohead, all of whom came together to honor Wenders’s lifelong passion for music. Composed of three LPs, with a “collection of songs that looks like him, his life, and his work,” according to the album’s press release, the record features new tracks as well as songs that have appeared on the director’s soundtracks and new mixes of his old favorites. It’s a perfect gift for Wenders, who has used music throughout his nearly fifty-year career to drive the emotional tenor of his films—which play out like aural canvases showcasing his favorite artists, from Chuck Berry performing “Memphis” in Alice in the Cities to Nick Cave crooning under a neon glow in Wings of Desire.
Wim’s — Driven By Music is now available worldwide, but only in a limited run of 5,000 copies. You can get one here now—and then head over to BOMB’s website to read more about the music in Wenders’s films.