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Toby Keith received the Country Icon Award at the first People’s Choice Country Awards on September 28. The moment was extra emotional, as Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer two years ago.
Keith took some time off from performing to focus on his treatments and his family. He took to the stage during the People’s Choice Country Awards for his first televised performance since receiving his cancer diagnosis.
The song Keith performed that night was “Don’t Let the Old Man In.”
Keith released “Don’t Let the Old Man In” in 2018 to accompany the Clint Eastwood film, The Mule. He once explained the story behind the song, saying it came from a conversation he had while golfing with Eastwood.
Eastwood was 88 years old at the time and getting ready to start work on The Mule. Keith asked him how he kept working in his later years:
“He said, ‘I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in,'” Keith recalled. “And I thought, I’m writing that.”
Once Keith finished the song, he sent a demo to Eastwood. Keith didn’t feel the best when he recorded the demo, and intended to make a better version. But Eastwood loved it, saying the “sick and tired and dark” sound of his voice fit the tone of the song.
Eastwood decided to feature the song in The Mule after that.
Lyrics such as “Many moons I have lived. My body’s weathered and worn,” hit differently hearing Keith sing them at the People’s Choice Country Awards. It’s as if the song took on a whole new meaning considering everything his body’s been through in the past two years.
“Don’t Let the Old Man In” topped the iTunes country chart after Keith’s performance. After that, he found another way to share the song with his fans…through the release of a new lyric video.
The new video shows beautiful landscapes and scenes of a man and boy going for a walk to the lake. The song’s lyrics appear over the stunning scenes in bold, white letters.
You can watch the new lyric video for “Don’t Let the Old Man In” below. It already has over 630,000 views at the time of this writing.