Bob Dylan has become the first rock star to be voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The 71-year-old musician has been made an honorary member of the elite society after officials were unable to decide whether to place him in one of their categories; music, literature and visual art.

Bob follows in the footsteps of other members including Woody Allen, Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese.

Executive director Virginia Dajani said: ''The board of directors considered the diversity of his work and acknowledged his iconic place in the American culture.

''Bob Dylan is a multi-talented artist whose work so thoroughly crosses several disciplines that it defies categorisation.''

Bob has accepted the membership - a requirement for him to be inducted - but his manager, Jeff Rosen, doubts he will attend the ceremony in May.

The Academy of Arts and Letters consists of a total of 250 musicians, artists and writers, with new openings only available upon a member's death. Current associates conduct the nominations and voting process for new additions.

When the Academy was founded in 1898 in New York, it initially focused on artists and classical musicians, such as Stephen Sondheim and Ornette Coleman.