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Library of Congress Taps Willie Nelson, Tupac, R.E.M.

Willie Nelson, Tupac Shakur, Michael Stipe George Pimentel/WireImage.com; Ron Galella/WireImage; Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

The lyrics are nearly impossible to decipher in R.E.M.'s "Radio Free Europe," but that's not stopping the Feds from tapping it for immortality.

Oh, and did we mention Tupac Shakur too?

The alternative rockers, the late rap star, and Willie Nelson are among the music legends whose songs have been selected by the Library of Congress to be preserved for all time in the National Recording Registry.

Librarian of Congress James Billington hailed R.E.M.'s "Radio Free Europe" for its "raw immediacy" and praised Tupac's "Dear Mama" as a "moving and eloquent homage" to both his own mother and mothers struggling to keep their family together "in the face of addiction, poverty and societal indifference." Nelson's Red Headed Stranger album was singled out for setting a new course for country music.

Also among the 25 works deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" for inclusion are Little Richard's rock and roll classic "Tutti Frutti," Howlin' Wolf's blues hit "Smokestack Lightning," Loretta Lynn's country smash "Coal Miner's Daughter," Patti Smith's proto-punk debut album Horses, The Band's eponymous second album and funnyman Bill Cosby's album, I Started Out as a Child.

Here's a complete list, which brings the total number of recordings in the registry to 300:

  1. "Fon der Choope" (From the Wedding), Abe Elenkrig's Yidishe Orchestra (1913)
  2. "Canal Street Blues," King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (1923)
  3. Tristan und Isolde, Metropolitan Opera, featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, NBC Broadcast of March 9, 1935
  4. "When You Wish Upon a Star," Cliff Edwards (1940)
  5. "America's Town Meeting of the Air: Should Our Ships Convoy Materials to England?"(May 8, 1941)
  6. The Library of Congress Marine Corps Combat Field Recording Collection, Second Battle of Guam (July 20 - August 11, 1944)
  7. "Evangeline Special" and "Love Bridge Waltz," Iry LeJeune (1948)
  8. "The Little Engine That Could," narrated by Paul Wing (1949)
  9. Leon Metcalf Collection of recordings of the First People of Western Washington State (1950-1954)
  10. "Tutti Frutti," Little Richard (1955)
  11. "Smokestack Lightning," Howlin' Wolf (1956)
  12. Gypsy, original cast recording (1959)
  13. The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, Bill Evans Trio (June 25, 1961)
  14. "Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)," Max Mathews (1961)
  15. I Started Out As a Child, Bill Cosby (1964)
  16. Azucar Pa Ti, Eddie Palmieri (1965)
  17. Today!, Mississippi John Hurt (1966)
  18. Silver Apples of the Moon, Morton Subotnick (1967)
  19. Soul Folk in Action, The Staple Singers (1968)
  20. The Band, The Band (1969)
  21. "Coal Miner's Daughter," Loretta Lynn (1970)
  22. Red Headed Stranger, Willie Nelson (1975)
  23. Horses, Patti Smith (1975)
  24. "Radio Free Europe" R.E.M. (1981)
  25. "Dear Mama," Tupac Shakur (1995)

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Take a look back at the 2010 Grammy winners here.

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