Hear Willie Nelson Sing Toby Keith’s “Don’t Let The Old Man In”
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Toby Keith’s “Don’t Let The Old Man In” was one of the most impactful country songs of 2023 as it served as the motivational soundtrack for Toby’s return to the stage after his battle with stomach cancer. The song was originally written and released in 2018 but did not initially garner much attention.
Fast forward to the present day, the song has been streamed millions of times and even landed in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Country Digital Song Sales chart in October.
Willie Nelson recorded and released “Don’t Let The Old Man In” in 2020
Between the song’s inception and present-day fame, another country music icon added it to his repertoire. Willie Nelson recorded and released “Don’t Let The Old Man In” as a part of his album First Rose of Spring which was released in July of 2020.
Nelson said that as soon as he heard the song he knew that he needed to record it. There was one set of lyrics in particular that caught Nelson’s attention:
Many moons I have lived and my body’s withered and worn /
Ask yourself how old you’d be /
If you didn’t know the day you were born.
These lyrics were fitting for Nelson, who was 87 years old when the record was released. Despite his age, Nelson is often applauded for his age-defying demeanor and lasting career.
“Don’t Let The Old Man In” Was Inspired By A Conversation With Clint Eastwood
One of the most interesting things about the poignant ballad is that it was inspired by a casual conversation with Clint Eastwood.
In 2017, Toby Keith and Clint Eastwood shared a cart at a charity golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California. Keith was in awe of the then-88-year-old’s energy and desire to keep working and asked Eastwood how he does it. Keith recalls the answer:
“He said, ‘I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in.’ And I thought, I’m writing that.”
Keith said he became obsessed with the idea for the song and when it was finished, he sent the demo to Clint Eastwood as a gift. The song wet on to be included in Clint Eastwood’s 2018 film, The Mule.
Listen to Willie Nelson’s version of “Don’t Let The Old Man In” below!