How A Piece Of Advice On The Golf Course From Clint Eastwood Led To Toby Keith Writing “Don’t Let The Old Man In”

toby keith clint eastwood
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The country music community continues to mourn the loss of the legend, Toby Keith, who passed away on February 5th.

Toby had decades of hits, but one of his most powerful recent releases truly showcases the brilliance in his songwriting. While participating in Clint Eastwood’s charity golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California in 2017, the two larger-than-life personalities ended up sharing a golf cart (talk about the cart you want to be in).

According to Billboard, at the time, Eastwood was nearing his 88th birthday when Keith asked him how he stays young and vibrant.

Clint shot him straight and told Toby:

“I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in.”

Immediately, Keith thought to himself, “I’m writing that.”

Putting pen to paper for what has become such a powerful song, Clint eventually heard it and put it in his 2018 movie, The Mule (which also starred Bradley Cooper).

“People were talking to me and they would say, ‘Did you hear what I just said?’ And I was like, ‘No,’ because I wasn’t listening to any conversations. I was consumed by ‘Don’t Let the Old Man In.’ I worked so hard on it,” Toby Keith explains.

“When I finally sang the line, I thought, it’s got to be dark, it’s got to be a ballad and it’s got to be simple.”

“He said, ‘I’ve got a spot in the movie and I’m putting it in there.’ And then Warner Bros. called asking did I read the script before I wrote this song because it fits perfectly.”

Fast forward to today, and Clint Eastwood is about to turn 94, and still not “letting the old man in.”

Toby’s legacy will live on forever, not just because of songs like this, but for his ability to maneuver his way through serious subjects, humor, anthems, and being a patriot.

This past fall, Toby Keith sent the song back to country radio for a second time.

Here’s his last performance of the song in Vegas.

RIP, Toby.

Toby Keith Brings The Crowd To Tears With Moving Performance Of “Don’t Let The Old Man In” At People’s Choice Country Awards

In September of 2023, Keith performed “Don’t Let The Old Man In” as he battled stomach cancer. The emotion in the room was palpable.

“Many moons I have lived
My body’s weathered and worn
Ask yourself how old would you be
If you didn’t know the day you were born

Try to love on your wife
And stay close to your friends
Toast each sundown with wine
Don’t let the old man in”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock