The 1950s Hitmakers, The Four Aces

Short summary on The Four Aces

The Four Aces are an American traditional pop group, first formed in Pennsylvania in 1950. The quartet have undergone several personnel changes, but it was first founded by Al Alberts and Dave Mahoney, who later added Lou Silvetri and Sol Vaccaro. After their first single “(It’s No) Sin” found great success in 1951, Alberts left the group to pursue a solo career. The Four Aces enjoyed a string of hits including their two most famous ballads “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing” and “Three Coins In A Fountain,” both of which were pop chart-toppers in separate release years. With the arrival of rock and roll, the Four Aces’ chart performance dipped. For much of 1955, the original lineup were also billed The Four Aces Featuring Al Alberts, while the second group that featured Fred Diodati, Joe Giglio, Harry Heisler and Danny Colingo legally own the name The Four Aces. Alberts, Mahoney, Silvestri, and Vaccaro have now passed away.

Formation of the Four Aces

The Four Aces formed in Chester, Pennsylvania in the early 1950s. But each of the members came from different places before coming together and forming a band. The lineup would experience changes, but the original members who were responsible for their million-selling hits were: Al Alberts, Dave Mahonye, Lou Silvestri and Rosario “Sod” Vaccaro.

Alberts and Mahoney first encountered each other while they were serving at the US Navy. The two men went on to form a musical duo, with Albers on the lead vocals and Mahoney playing behind him. Then the expanded their act with Vaccaro (trumpet) and Silvestri (drums).

First hit record

The quartet played locally around Philadelphia. Seeing themselves ready for recording, the group began to do such. But since they could not find a distributor to release their records, Alberts went on to found his label Victoria Records, in 1951. The group and the label’s first single was “(It’s No) Sin.” The record went on to reach its peak position at #4 on the Billboard pop chart in 1951.

The Four Aces and their string of hits

With over a million selling records behind them, The Four Aces were then signed to Decca Records. The group went on to dominate the charts from 1951 to 1955. Such high-charting hits include “Tell Me Why” (#2 pop in 1951, and #2 in 1952), “A Garden In The Rain” (#14 pop), “Perfidia” (#7 pop), “Two Little Kisses” (#29 pop), “I’m Yours” (#17 pop) “Should I” (#9 pop) “Heart and Soul” (#11 pop) “Just Squeeze Me (But Don’t Tease Me)” (#20 pop), “Organ Grinder’s Swing” (#17 pop), “Stranger In Paradise” (#3 pop 1953, #6 UK 1955), “The Gang That Sang Heart Of My Heart” (#7 pop), “Wedding Bells (Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine” (#26 pop), “Dream” (#17 pop) “It’s A Woman’s World” (#11 pop), “Mister Sandman” (#3 pop, #9 UK), “Melody Of Love” (#3 pop) “Heart” (#13 pop), “I Only Know I Love You” (#22 pop), and their two chart-toppers “Three Coins in the Fountain” (#1 pop, #5 UK), and “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing” (#1 pop, #2 UK).

After their amazing chart performance that lasted up to the mid-1950s, the Four Aces would chart only minor hits. Probably the emergence and growing popularity of rock and roll engulfed most of the traditional pop acts like The Four Aces.

Rock and Roll Music Interesting Facts

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  • Did you know Allan Freed, from a radio show in Cleveland, Ohia, first used the term “rock and roll,” referring to rhythm and blues music? Alan Freed was one of the first to play rock and roll music on a radio show, and in 1952 he organized the first rock and roll concert in Cleveland. During this time, people listened to this music genre on late-night radio stations nationwide. Some teenagers began buying rhythm and blues records as a form of rebellion, making them more popular with younger listeners. 
picture of Queen in 1970, left to right; Mike Grose, Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury and Brian May image

By Comunità Queeniana –, CC BY 2.0,

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  • Did you know Nirvana made headlines for being kicked out of their release party? Nirvana, an American rock band that revolutionized popular rock music with songs integrating punk music, became one of the most controversial bands of their time. One event that became a headline was the listening party held at the Rebar in downtown Seattle. Kurt Cobain and the other boys were known for their little pranks, so it had to be a disaster from the start. The evening started great, with the group signing autographs and acting like friendly hosts. But with the constant stream of alcohol, things went from bad to worse very quickly. They started throwing watermelons stuffed with ranch dressing, and one thing led to another, which inevitably ended in a food fight, with people throwing tamales and guacamole at each other. The group was then escorted by security to the door.

The two Four Aces

In Alberts left in 1958 in an attempt to launch a solo career, but failed to make the charts. Singer Fred Diodati replaced Alberts as the group’s new lead singer. That was the start of the group’s shifting lineup. Mahoney and Vaccaro subsequently left as well. Silvestri remained, along with Diodati and newer recruits Tony Alesi and Joe Giglio.

The three original Aces members got together again, and asked Silvestri to join the group which he did. The Diodati-led Aces, meanwhile, paraded with a new lineup once more, still with the name The Four Aces. As expected, a legal battle ensued between the two Four Aces groups, which ended with Diodati’s group being granted to legally use The Four Aces name. The original and founding members, meanwhile, were allowed by court to perform as “The Original Four Aces, Featuring Al Alberts.”

Deaths of the founding members, and the Four Aces’ legacy

All original founders of Four Aces passed away: Alberts in 2009 (aged 87), Mahoney in 2012 (aged 86), Silvestri in 2013 (aged 86), and Vaccaro in 2013 (aged 90).

The Four Aces were inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame in 1988, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.