David A. Mahoney, 86, 1950s singer was one of Four Aces

David A. Mahoney was one of Four Aces.
David A. Mahoney was one of Four Aces.
Posted: July 12, 2012

The national spotlight shone on David A. Mahoney and his buddies six decades ago, when they sang as the Four Aces, four men from Delaware County whose 1950s records topped the charts.

But when his performing days ended, so did his singing, his son, Blair, recalled.

Not even at family gatherings?

"Never. That was business. And family was family. And the two never really crossed paths."

Mr. Mahoney, 86, former owner of the David A. Mahoney Insurance Agency in Woodlyn, Delaware County, died Sunday, July 8, of complications from Alzheimer's disease at his home in Chadds Ford.

Mr. Mahoney's son noted that when the members of the 1950s group got together again in the 1970s, they called themselves the Original Four Aces because another group was then performing as the Four Aces.

Mr. Mahoney and his friends had two memorable hits with movie themes in the 1950s, according to the website of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation.

Their version of "the theme to Three Coins in the Fountain hit No. 1 in 1954. Another movie theme, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, spent over a month at the top during 1955," the website reported.

Mr. Mahoney and the lead singer, Al Alberts, began performing as instrumentalists while together in the Navy and later added Lou Silvestri and Rosario Vaccaro, "making a name for themselves" in the Philadelphia region, the website stated.

After the four became singers and failed "to find a distributor for their debut single, '(It's No) Sin, ' Alberts founded his own Victoria label to release the single. It became a big hit in late 1951 and sold a million copies."

After Decca Records signed the group that year, its first single for the label, "Tell Me Why ," sold a million copies, the website said.

The Aces had a few top-10 hits in the early 1950s before Alberts left the group for a solo career in 1956.

In 2001, the Four Aces joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Born in Linwood, Delaware County, Mr. Mahoney graduated from the former Eddystone High School and served in the Navy during World War II, stationed as a clarinet player with a military band in Newfoundland.

After the war, "they were a musical band before they ever did vocals," Blair Mahoney said of his father's group. Performing was "an avocation of theirs. They all had other forms of income."

Hearing the band playing at the Old Mill in Concordville, someone suggested that the four form a vocal quartet.

"It happened pretty quickly with one song," Blair Mahoney said of the group's success.

Mr. Mahoney left the group in the 1960s, his son said, but in the 1970s, "the original four guys, they got back together and performed as the Original Four Aces for several years," even touring Asia.

He was a member of the Concord, Kennett, Llanerch, Cape May, and Wildwood Country Clubs.

Besides his son, Mr. Mahoney is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; a daughter, Beth; a brother; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Services were private.

Donations may be sent to the Delaware Valley chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Suite 102, 399 Market St., Philadelphia 19106.


Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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