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Senior Resources » Toby Keith’s Unforgettable Final Award Show Performance, “Don’t Let the Old Man In”

Toby Keith’s Unforgettable Final Award Show Performance, “Don’t Let the Old Man In”

At the first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards (September 28, 2023), country music icon Toby Keith made an emotional comeback to the performance stage that left wife, attendees, and viewers everywhere in tears.

The celebrated “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” singer, aged 62, graced the awards ceremony not only to commemorate his numerous years of hit songs but also to honor countless other achievements by country music heavyweights. His significant contribution to the genre was recognized with the Country Icon Award.

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“Bet you thought you’d never see me in skinny jeans,” Keith joked, while accepting the honor, presented by friend and fellow country singer, Blake Shelton. The People’s Choice Country Awards marked Keith’s first public appearance on television since he bravely disclosed his battle with stomach cancer in June 2022.

Toby Keith
2010 American Country Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 6, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV, Image Credit, Shutterstock

After accepting his award, Keith graced the stage with a performance of his 2019 hit, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.” The song now reverberates as a hauntingly beautiful tribute to the music legend’s resilience in facing life’s challenges. It serves as an enduring memory of his unsurpassable spirit.

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Don’t let the old man in
I want to live me some more
Can’t leave it up to him
He’s knocking on my door

And I knew all of my life
That someday it would end
Get up and go outside
Don’t let the old man in

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

During the highly emotional performance Toby Keith's wife, Tricia Lucus, was visibly moved, wiping away tears.
Photo Courtesy: ‘Toby Keith Performs “Don’t Let the Old Man In” at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards | NBC’/NBC via YouTube

During the highly emotional performance wife, Tricia Lucus, was visibly moved, wiping away tears.

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

Keith himself at one point became teary-eyed, adding a profound weight to the song’s message.

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

Looking back on the 2023 performance, the song now resonates with a poignant beauty that will echo in our memories as a mirror of Keith’s perseverance and fighting spirit during his battle with cancer.

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in

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Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in
.”

Toby Keith passed away on February 5, 2024, after a courageous battle with stomach cancer.

Cover Photo Courtesy: ‘Toby Keith Performs “Don’t Let the Old Man In” at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards | NBC’/NBC via YouTube/2/7/24 @9:30

Originally published February 19, 2024

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