I Don't Live Today

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"I Don't Live Today"
Song by the Jimi Hendrix Experience
from the album Are You Experienced
Released May 12, 1967 (1967-05-12)
Recorded February 20, 1967
Studio Olympic, London
Length 3:55
Label Track
Songwriter(s) Jimi Hendrix
Producer(s) Chas Chandler

"I Don't Live Today" is a song by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released on May 12, 1967, on the band's debut album Are You Experienced. In honor of his Cherokee heritage, Hendrix dedicated the song to the American Indians and other minority groups.


Are You Experienced and its preceding singles were recorded over a five-month period from late October 1966 through early April 1967.[2] The album was completed in sixteen recording sessions at three London locations, including De Lane Lea Studios, CBS, and Olympic. Chas Chandler booked many of the sessions at Olympic because the facility was acoustically superior and equipped with most of the latest technology, though it was still using four-track recorders, whereas American studios were using eight-track.[3]


On February 20, 1967, the Experience continued working on Are You Experienced, but scheduling conflicts at Olympic led Chandler to book time at De Lane Lea.[4] During the session they recorded "I Don't Live Today", which featured a manual wah effect that predated the pedal unit.[5] They managed to complete a working master by the end of the day, though Hendrix eventually recorded a new lead vocal at Olympic.[6]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Musicologist Ritchie Unterberger considers the lyrics to "I Don't Live Today" to be more at home in a gothic rock setting than in psychedelia, however; he describes the music as being "played and sung with an ebullience that belies the darkness of the lyrics."[7] Author Sean Egan wrote that Hendrix "superbly, and with great economy of words evok[ed] despair, whether that despair be an individual's or the despair of a devastated and brutalized race."[8] The song's tribal rhythms served as a platform for Hendrix's innovative guitar feedback improvisations.[9] In honor of his Cherokee heritage, Hendrix dedicated the song to the American Indians and other minority groups.[7]



  1. ^ a b Greenwald, Matthew. "Jimi Hendrix/The Jimi Hendrix Experience: I Don't Live Today – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Roby 2002, p. 71.
  3. ^ Roby 2002, pp. 71–72.
  4. ^ Egan 2013, p. 150; McDermott 2009, p. 39.
  5. ^ Shadwick 2003, p. 103.
  6. ^ McDermott 2009, p. 39.
  7. ^ a b Unterberger 2009, pp. 182–183.
  8. ^ Egan 2013, p. 198.
  9. ^ Heatley 2009, p. 64: guitar feedback in "I Don't Live Today"; Unterberger 2009, pp. 182–183: the tribal rhythms of "I Don't Live Today".


  • Joe Boyd, John Head, Gary Weis (Directors) (2005) [1973]. Jimi Hendrix (DVD). Warner Home Video. ASIN B0009E3234. 
  • Bob Smeaton (Director) (2013). Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' (DVD, Blu-ray). Sony Legacy. ASIN B00F031WB8. 
  • Bob Smeaton (Director) (2012). West Coast Seattle Boy: Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child (DVD, Blu-ray). Sony Legacy. ASIN B007ZC92FA.