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How Clint Eastwood Inspired an Iconic Toby Keith Song

How Clint Eastwood Inspired an Iconic Toby Keith Song

Songwriting legend Toby Keith recently shared that a conversation with Oscar-winner Clint Eastwood inspired the words for his single, Don’t Let the Old Man In

Keith, 62, took to Instagram on Friday (Dec. 1) and recalled speaking with the actor, now 93, ahead of his 88th birthday. Keith wondered what Eastwood was planning to do to celebrate the big day. Eastwood told him he was going to keep pushing along. 

“It’s an interesting story, how this song came to be,” Keith said. “Clint Eastwood, when asked by me, what he was gonna do on his birthday, he said he was gonna go shoot a movie. He was 88 years old, and I said, ‘What do you do to keep yourself going?’ He said, ‘I try to get up and be productive. And don’t let the old man in.’”

Toby Keith turned the comment into a song about a man who refuses to give up his youth saying, “Don’t let the old man in/I wanna leave this alone/Can’t leave it up to him/He’s knocking on my door.” He sent it to Eastwood, who liked it so much that he put it in his 2018 movie The Mule. The film stars Eastwood as a 90-year-old Korean War vet who trades his job as a horticulturist to become a Mexican cartel drug mule.

Toby Keith Won the Inaugural People’s Choice Country Icon Award

The song recently “exploded” after Keith sang it during the People’s Choice Country Awards this past September. He was in attendance to accept the first-ever Icon Award that honored him as a musician, entrepreneur, and humanitarian. 

Toby Keith re-released Don’t Let The Old Man In on his 100% Songwriter album, which also includes Should’ve Been A Cowboy, Country Comes to Town, and other self-penned works. The album dropped last month. And it came as Keith announced plans to return to music after taking a break for his ongoing cancer battle.

“Just seeing how enormous the career I amassed over 30 years when they show the video,” Keith said while accepting his award, per PEOPLE. “You know where you were when you wrote all those songs. And you hear those numbers. And it’s just like you looked up one day and all of a sudden 30 years went by. It’s pretty magnificent.”