In the early 1950s the big band era was winding down and the rock and roll revolution was still to come. The pop music landscape was filled with a little bit of everything, and among those who thrived were singing groups that seemed to spin out hit after hit by specializing in sweet ballads. One of the best was the Four Aces, a quartet that had countless best-selling records during the decade, including chart-toppers on “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” and “Three Coins in the Fountain.”
A Philadelphia-based group, the Four Aces actually began to form when ex-Navy pals Al Alberts and Dave Mahoney, who had found little success as a duo, invited Lou Silvestri and Sol Vaccaro to join them and form a quartet. Lead singer Alberts was originally looking for instrumental backup, but the group’s rise in popularity in the Philly area coincided with it turning to vocalizing.
In 1951 the Four Aces’ first record was self-produced, and featured “Tell Me Why” on one side, and “(It’s No) Sin” on the other. It was a million-seller and quickly caught the attention of the industry, earning the group a contract with a major recording company. It was the beginning of a span of several years that would see the guys having big hits on songs like “Stranger in Paradise,” “Mister Sandman,” and “Melody of Love,” in addition to the Number-Ones mentioned earlier.
By the late 1950s the hits were slowing down, and Alberts left to pursue what would be a iffy solo career. Meanwhile the group forged on, going through various personnel changes at one time or another. In the 1970s Alberts and the other founding members tried for a comeback, billing themselves as the ‘Original Four Aces’ because of a lawsuit by the replacements, but they eventually retired for good. Various groups using the name are still around even now, but the originals have all passed on.