The Crazy hitmaker will be honoured with the top U.S. cultural accolade from officials at the Library of Congress in recognition of his career as a "musical explorer" who has "helped make country music one of the most universally beloved forms of American artistic expression", according to organisation boss James Billington.

Nelson will be feted at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November (15), when a host of his peers will perform to celebrate his achievement.

Responding to the news, which was announced on Thursday (09Jul15), 82-year-old Nelson says, "I appreciate it greatly."

Other musicians to receive the prize, named after composers George and Ira Gershwin, include Paul Simon, Sir Paul MCCartney, Stevie Wonder. Carole King became the first woman to claim the honour in 2013, while Billy Joel took home the award last year (14).