Toby Keith Pens 'Don't Let the Old Man In' for Clint Eastwood's New Movie, 'The Mule'

Toby Keith wrote and sang a song, "Don't Let the Old Man In," for Clint Eastwood's latest movie, The Mule. The song, perhaps surprisingly, was inspired by a conversation Keith had with Eastwood, while on the golf course.

"He's kind of the mascot at Pebble Beach, so I've been seeing him around, but he's such an icon and that's his home, Carmel and the Monterey Bay," Keith told PopCulture.com at a recent media event. "First few times I was around him, I didn't approach him. I just kind of let the guy be. As it went on, he started coming up and speaking. He puts the room at ease, tries to put the room at ease, and so, we became friends."

The two became closer when Eastwood invited Keith to be his partner in a three-day golf event. One of their conversations inspired "Don't Let the Old Man In," which says, in part, "Many moons I have lived / My body's weathered and worn / Ask yourself how would you be / If you didn't know the day you were born."

"We discussed this movie, and he said he was turning 88," Keith recalled. "Right walking off the green, he said, 'I turn 88 Monday.' I said, 'What are you going to do?' He said, 'I'm going to shoot a movie.'"

"'You're going to dedicate the next three months of your life to shooting a movie?'" Keith questioned. "'I'm sorry, but what keeps you going?' He goes, 'I get up every day and don't let the old man in.' I went, 'I'm writing this damn letter,' so I took it home. Of course, as the three days of playing went on, he told us what the movie was about."

Eastwood didn't ask Keith to write or sing the song, but the singer-songwriter was so inspired by their conversation, he went on the road and wrote the song, which Eastwood decided to include. For Keith, who has written dozens of hit songs, "Don't Let the Old Man In" became his biggest creative success.

"I was consumed with it, for about a day and a half, two days," Keith recounted. "I mean, I was short on phone calls. I didn't hear any conversation, so I could not quit working on it. It was one of my favorite things I ever did in my life. It wasn't the normal fare. It wasn't a challenge; I knew who I was writing it for, and I knew who had inspired me to write it. I wanted to deliver him that best thing I could. I knew that the song could be powerful.

"I didn't want to leave any stone unturned ... The second I wrote it, it was just like I jumped 500 feet in the air," he added. "It's just like I bounced 500 feet in the air. I knew I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish."

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Photo Credit: Getty images/Noam Galai