Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

October 12…happy birthday

Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

I try to do a blog piece for each Woodstock performer on their birthday and if her Facebook page is accurate ūüėÄ , then October 12 is Nancy Nevin’s birthday.

Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

The main source for my information is from a February 2, 2017 Wade Lawrence blog piece for the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

Nevins’s Sweetwater story began when she was 17. She happened to stop at a coffeehouse on her way home. She sat in with¬†Alex Del Zoppo (keyboards), Albert Moore (flute), and Elpidio Cobian (congas) who were jamming.

That was it. About an hour later she headed home. Eventually, though, she began performing with those three on the coffeehouse circuit. August Burns (cello), Fred Herrera (bass), and Alan Malarowitz (drums) joined and all became Sweetwater.

Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

Eponymous Sweetwater album

In 1968, Reprise Records released Sweetwater’s first album,¬†Sweetwater.¬†The band toured as an opening act for some of the time’s big names:¬†The Doors, Eric Burdon and the Animals, Cream, Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, and others.

They also found themselves on various TV variety shows such as The Red Skelton Show, The Steve Allen Show, Playboy After Dark, The Hollywood Palace, and¬†American Bandstand. ¬†Here’s a clip from an appearance on¬†Hollywood Palace¬†with Bing Crosby’s corny intro:

Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

1969 Festival circuit

Along with dozens of other bands that year, Sweetwater played at many festivals besides Woodstock:

Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

Bad luck and tragedy

For many Woodstock bands, their fame was brief. For others, like Santana, their fame blossomed a year later when their appearance became part of the triple-album and/or the Woodstock movie.

Sweetwater had neither.

And when a drunken driver sped into Nancy Nevins’s stopped car, her career should have ended, too.

She wasn’t supposed to live. She wasn’t supposed have any mobility¬†if she¬†did live. And she certainly would never sing again if she regained¬†any movement.

Sweetwater Nancy Nevins


But after twenty-five excruciating years of rehabilitation, incredible persistence, great medical care, Nevins lives on. Nevins sings some (with a different voice), teaches more (and learns more every day), and realizes how fortunate she is simply to be alive.

Sweetwater released two more albums using some of her pre-accident recordings, but its members eventually went their own way as well.


Sweetwater Nancy Nevins
From her Facebook page

Her Facebook page lists this information as well:

  • Works at¬†Musician
  • Former Recording Artist at¬†Self and Rhino Records, et al
  • Former Singer/Performer at¬†Musician
  • Studied at¬†California State University, Fullerton
  • Studied American Studies at¬†California State University, Fullerton
  • Went to¬†Glendale High School
  • Lives in¬†Los Angeles, California
  • From¬†Los Angeles, California
Sweetwater Nancy Nevins

7 thoughts on “Sweetwater Nancy Nevins”

  1. A friend forwarded this article today re:: Nancy Nevins, my old band mate.
    Somehow, I’d missed your site before.
    Nicely assembled, concise but informative.

    Yeah, 1969 was, for us one hell of a year, both filled with great adventures, and the band-killing tragedy of Nancy’s accident, which took place a mere four months after we played Woodstock. Yes, we played a few other pop fests following Woodstock while Nancy was still herself, namely Texas International Pop Fest and West Palm Beach Festival (the last one with The Stones, before the great age of American festivals turned ugly @ Altamont),

    Unfortunately, the single event of her accident changed everything for us, effectively crippling us, our relationship with Warner/Reprise, our elimination from the Woodstock film, and our commitments for future dates, eventually leading to us disolving as a band.

    But there is a story behind all of that, which even the 1999 Viacom Sweetwater film chose to ignore.
    I’d like to tell it, if you’ll allow (at some future time), which explains a number of things about our Woodstock experience.

    Woodstock was, and always will be the pinnacle, the ultimate benchmark for all others, mainly because it all happened organically, non-commercially, and at such a crucial time in America.

    Thank you for your site and for remembering us.
    Alex Del Zoppo (Sweetwater)

    1. Sweetwater will always be our favorite band before during and present. Innovative music and vocals that are timeless we can only hope that the surviving members make an appearance at one of the 50th anniversary gigs, here is hoping, and Thank you Sweetwater, Nansi, Alex and Fred for giving us this gift of music!

  2. How long was Nancy a member of Sweetwater before the Woodstock event in 1969? The movie, as I recall, depicted her as having sudden stage fright when facing the huge, huge crowd? If understandably true, how did she overcome that issue on the spur of the moment. If this is not a true story, please correct me!
    From a 17 year-old coffee shop stand-in to a lead vocalist at Woodstock should/would frighten anyone in my opinion!

  3. Nancy Nevins is simply, a Miracle, and an inspiration to me and countless others in the world and the true Spirit of Recovery. I hope to meet her someday as my Sponsor met her several years ago in Washington, D.C. As a teenager in the ’60’s we are truly All miracles… long live Nancy Nevins and Sweetwater…

  4. Happy Birthday , Nancy.ūüéā
    Were you a speaker at the Sat. Meeting
    In Toronto in 2005?
    A Friend Of Bills in LI NY

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