Sam Cutler, the one-time tour manager for The Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead, has passed away at the age of 80.
“Our father was first diagnosed with cancer nearly a decade ago, and it is with gratitude that Sam’s family thank the wonderful doctors, nurses, hospital staff and administrators in ALL hospitals that our father received treatment within,” Cutler’s children posted on his Facebook page.
“Many people from across our big beautiful world crossed paths with Sam in his life, and many more formed timeless memories with him that are each beautiful encapsulations of the man that he was,” they added. “Sam would want nothing more for his friends to continue to form timeless memories with whomever they meet, and to share those memories with him in the next life.”
Cutler began his career as a stage manager for Blackhill Enterprises, working with bands including Pink Floyd and Blind Faith. Cutler’s official association with The Rolling Stones came by helping to organise their 1969 Free Concert in Hyde Park. The show became a tribute to former guitarist Brian Jones at the last second when Jones died just two days prior.
Cutler was the band’s road manager during their 1969 tour of the United States, on which Cutler coined the term “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World” to introduce the group. The tour concluded with the infamous Altamont Free Concert, which ended with three fatalities. Cutler was a main point of contact between the Stones, members of the Grateful Dead organisation, and the Hells Angels motorcycle club.
After the Stones disassociated with him following Altamont, Cutler became the road manager for the Grateful Dead. Cutler is largely credited with getting the band out of substantial debt, mostly incurred from former manager Lenny Hart stealing approximately $150,000 from them in 1970. Cutler established the Dead as road warriors, bringing them across North America and promoting their live shows as the primary way to experience the Grateful Dead.
Cutler was responsible for organising the band’s 1972 European tour, which was later captured on their famous live LP Europe 72. Cutler was also a major player in organising the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, at which more than 600,000 people attended, becoming one of the largest concerts in rock music history.
Cutler established his own booking agency, Out of Town Tours, in 1974 after officially leaving the Grateful Dead’s management team. Cutler remains the only person to have performed on studio albums for both The Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead, having played the car horn on Let It Bleed‘s ‘Country Honk’ and singing in the backing choir that appears on American Beauty‘s ‘Ripple’.
Cutler published his memoir You Can’t Always Get What You Want in 2010. He also contributed to a number of Grateful Dead-related works, including Amir Bar-Lev’s 2017 documentary Long Strange Trip and the band’s official podcast The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast.
Cutler is survived by his two children, Bodhi and Chesley.