Sammy Nestico grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he joined the local ABC radio station WCAE as a trombonist at the age of 17. He went on to play trombone in bands fronted by Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, and Charlie Barnet, as well as a long stint (1967–1984) as an arranger for the Count Basie Orchestra.
For television and film industry, he arranged and conducted projects for Bing Crosby, Sarah Vaughan, Toni Tennille, Frank Sinatra, Phil Collins, Barbra Streisand, and Count Basie. As orchestrator, he has worked on nearly seventy television programs, including Mission: Impossible, Mannix, Charlie's Angels, and The Mod Squad. He has written commercial jingles for Anheuser-Busch, Zenith, Ford Motor Company, Mattel Toys, Pittsburgh Paints, the National Guard, Dodge, Remington Bank, and Americard.
In addition to publishing nearly 600 numbers for school groups and many for professional big bands, he has conducted and recorded his arrangements overseas with the BBC Big Band in London, Germany's SWR Big Band and NDR Big Band and the DR Big Band.
Nestico moved to Carlsbad around the late 1980s and began doing arrangements for local ensembles. He passed away in January 2021.