Kris Kristofferson surprised attendees at the PEN New England's Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Awards with a memorable performance.

Kristofferson was the guest of honor at the event, and he didn't seem inclined to play onstage, appearing to mouth, "No, I don't think so," when the night's emcee Elvis Costello whispered to him. But Kristofferson gave in when Costello stepped up to the microphone and asked in front of the crowd, saying, "Kris, can we prevail upon you to give us a song?"

The 77-year-old Kristofferson, who suffers from concussion-related memory loss, proceeded to pick up a guitar and play a version of 'Me and Bobby McGee' for the crowd.

Randy Newman was also honored at the event, which seeks to recognize artists for their songwriting as well as their work in human rights.

Kristofferson has been working on an album with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. No release date for the project has been announced. All three of the icons performed together at the Grammy Awards earlier this year.