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You Can't Always Get What You Want: My Life with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Other Wonderful Reprobates
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You Can't Always Get What You Want: My Life with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and Other Wonderful Reprobates

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  189 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Sam Cutler managed the Rolling Stones at some of their major gigs in the late 1960s and has now decided it's time to put to rest the myths and legends that have grown up around an infamous event in rock history - the Stones concert in which a Hell's Angel was murdered in front of the stage while the band played on. Also included in Cutler's account are details of his life ...more
ebook, 326 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by ECW Press (first published December 31st 2007)
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Feb 05, 2010 Tosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I find fascinating with respect to books about the Rolling Stones, is that the subject matter (The Stones) are not that interesting as a subject matter. But all the side characters in their long narrative is on another plane itself - and they are fascinating. The drug dealers, the managers, the audience, groupies, the money people - all of them are interesting, but the Stones themselves never come off as interesting figures in their own story. Keith of course is the closest of being an inte ...more
Sep 08, 2010 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I always read these music tell-alls and I always find them irritating.

Cutler, who was the tour manager for The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead, annoys me on two fronts: He posits a conspiracy theory for the Altamont stabbing (see the Maysles film "Gimme Shelter") and he casually relates several tales of dosing the unwitting with LSD.

The Altamont mess, to me, is a good example of what happens when you let hippies run things (another being the Obama administration). Cutler is obviously trying
Ed Smith
Jun 11, 2010 Ed Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not read a good rock 'n roll memoir in a long time.
Sam Cutler takes us down the road with the Rolling Stones
as tour manager in 1969's Altamount tragic concert.

After leaving the Stones he takes a tour manager's job
with the opposite rock 'n roll band the Grateful Dead
from 1969 to 1974. with a lot of drugs, chicks, music, roadies.

His book is not cynical of the 60s it is more about the music. There
are ancedotes here & there. Hindsight, just wish wish this book had come out in 1975 when I
May 04, 2009 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cutler's memoir of his life as tour manager for the Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead, as well as the events leading up to the notorius and era defining Altamont concert, is a book that's hard to put down. His is the unique perspective of someone stuck between the musicians, the artistic vision and the commercial and practical imperatives involved in the running of the biggest bands on the planet. Of course the stories of drugs, sex and rock'n'roll excess are here but they take a back seat to his ...more
Nov 27, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Desert Trip 2016 booked, I was ready to learn more about the Rolling Stones. The bonus was also reading stories of behind the scenes with The Grateful Dead and getting to know the character of Sam Cutler. The contrast of the two bands, the 60s drug scene, the changing faces and comings and goings of the entourages surrounding the bands all makes for an interesting read. The Altamont story is built with mystery regarding who in that mess of planning errors should hold the blame. It was a mes ...more
Apr 20, 2010 Kurt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is very fun and cool. Cutler writes pretty well -- he's got an authentic voice that doesn't grate or preach. He'll come up with a turn of phrase that perfectly nails the situation he's describing. And, thankfully, this book is not a tell-all piece of poop. It's just full of great memories and anecdotes of shepherding the Stones and the Dead. Oh yeah, and there's lots and lots of LSD.
Aug 01, 2011 Dachokie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting Perspective of Two Historic Bands ... and Altamont, February 7, 2011

I was informally introduced to Sam Cutler many, many years ago when I was in the process of wearing out my vinyl copy of the Rolling Stone's live album "Get Your Ya Yas Out" ... he's the guy that introduces the Stones as "the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World" prior to the distinguishable opening chords of "Jumping Jack Flash". I never thought much about the actual person making that proclamation until I saw t
May 05, 2014 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm enjoying Cutler's book quite a bit, as much for its breezy, but fairly erudite, writing style as for the insight into the period from 1969-1970. A couple of critical observations: Cutler bills himself as tour manager for the Stones, and I imagined that meant he had enjoyed a long relationship with them. In fact, he seems like a peripheral member of the Stones' entourage, someone who was never in the inner circle and who only acted as Tour Manager for the autumn tour of the US in 1969. Since ...more
Todd Crawshaw
Apr 20, 2016 Todd Crawshaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You Can’t Always Get What You Want is one of the best rock 'n' roll memoirs I’ve read. Sam Cutler was the tour manager at the epicenter of The Rolling Stones circus during their apex – the Let It Bleed days. And also during their nadir – the Altamont concert – which abruptly altered the course of his life. Feeling derailed, abandoned, and endangered in the aftermath, he found shelter from the storm within the psychedelic warmth of the Grateful Dead family. Basically broke, as was the band at the ...more
Dewey Moffitt
May 16, 2014 Dewey Moffitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, grateful-dead
Sam Cutler has delivered the goods in his memoir about working as tour manager for both the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. The book is refreshingly intelligent and well written. From the moment I started reading the first pages, I read the book straight through cover to cover. I could immediately identify with Cutler’s passion as both a writer and a man behind the scenes.

Whereas the Stones and the infamous battle of Altamont are concerned, General Cutler puts you there like no other inte
Al Maki
Nov 25, 2014 Al Maki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-story
Cutler's memoir of becoming the Rolling Stones' tour manager and running probably their most famous tour, the one that ended at Altamont and produced "Gimme Shelter". Staying behind in San Francisco to deal with the aftermath Cutler was absorbed into the Grateful Dead family and worked for them as a manager for four years in the early seventies.
He was a man whose job required him to be able to count large piles of money while on acid. Which is to say that Cutler was a pragmatic and unsentimental
John Branney
May 11, 2013 John Branney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are hundreds of these 'life with rock stars' out there written by rock stars, producers, groupies, roadies, girl friends, boy friends, etc. This is another one of those books, but it stands above the books I have read.

The book does not focus on the drugs, alcohol, and negative things about the life, but more about the back scene of business on rock tours.

The book had the most complete version of Altamont that I had ever read.

Cutler is a good writer and the book is easy to follow and his
Nov 28, 2014 4triplezed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I have no abilty to discuss the rights or wrongs of Cutlers birds eyes views of the events in this book such as Altamont but then who has? Cutler writes, in fact enjoys writing, about the sheer quantity of drugs used by all there so that must make for some hazy days that could be hard to recall. Be that as it may it is a breezy and easy to read book that has held my attention from beginning to end. As to Cutler he has made it clear he holds no regrets about his rock and roll ride and that attitu ...more
David Ward
You Can’t Always Get What You Want: My Life With the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and Other Wonderful Reprobates by Sam Cutler (ECW Press 2010) (610.0). Sam Cutler was, for a time, the touring manager of the Grateful Dead (and before that, the Rolling Stones). This is a collection of Cutler’s most memorable stories from his time spent managing the most famous rock artists in the world. This is not the best volume of Grateful Dead tales and scandalous reminiscences, but it’s not bad. My rat ...more
John Millikin
Mar 02, 2014 John Millikin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"You can't always get what you want" is a fascinating behind the scenes look at the world of rock 'n' roll in the late 60's, following two of the most influential bands on the planet. It kept me turning the pages with ease for two straight days, repeatedly coaxing me to read just one more chapter until there were none left. Told from a unique perspective and in a remarkably literary voice, this is one of the best music industry books I have read. I'm amazed it didn't receive more publicity.
Kevin Bergin
Not very well written and a lot of it not at all believable. I finished the book as I lived through all of those events and there is so little written about it.

Sam's Tales leave many questions about the events and his integrity. Like, so did you steal money from The Dead? Why did you just quit? They were your friends you claim, surely you would talk to them before marching off.

Kevin Bergin (Jan 5 2014)
May 05, 2009 Justine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic Cutler. A fascinating tale of what it was REALLY like to actually be there. I "learnt" all about Altamont at uni. I was truly educated on it from a primary source while reading this account.

It's a wild trip, that's for sure, taking you backstage and beyond. Sam is such a great story teller in person and it was great to see this translate to the pages of his first book - you feel like you're there with him. Can't wait for the follow up. Congrats on superb book Sam!
Jane Turner
Mick Jagger, drugs and groupies turned Sam Cutler into one of The Debauched. Take a look at his jacket photo, if you need proof. This is one of those sad books where someone chases a Rock Star, then realizes that the idol gives nothing in return. It's a life based on a mirage. If you care about the Altamont details and the illegal doping of policing officers for fun, then this is the book for you. Better yet, get your own ya-ya's out.
Carlos Escobedo
Feb 15, 2016 Carlos Escobedo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the details of the stories Sam shares with us. The moment when he decides to stay in Marin and face the wrath of the Hell's Angels, the police and who knows who else, really defines him as a great human being. The idea he shares of working hard and having fun is a good reminder to us busy bodies.
Scott Wolfe
Second half better than first, good read, interesting times
Jul 07, 2010 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always interesting to hear it from someone other than the artists. Hell of a story.
Chris Ruszkowski
Loved this book. Great insight and behind the scenes accounts of the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. You can't make this stuff up, crazy.
Sep 17, 2010 Richard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: saw the author on Greta van Susteren
An entertaining look behind the scenes on tour & working with the Rolling Stones & the Grateful Dead. A full and interesting take on what happened at Altamont. Well-written and personal.
Jun 09, 2013 hoopiefoot rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
Interesting subject but found the book irritating. & the writing simple. Couldn't wait for it to end.
Greg Overall
Quick, easy read. Some great stories, but with that, who knows how much of it is true.
LOVE this book mate! You did well :)
Jun 13, 2014 Barbikat60 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written and full of information
Michael Greene
Michael Greene rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2012
Matt rated it it was amazing
May 04, 2009
Kevin rated it it was ok
Jan 27, 2016
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