Phil Vassar Glows With Another No. 1

ASCAP Fetes Writers of "In a Real Love"

Seeing Phil Vassar ambling through the crowd, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and holding a baby, you’d hardly spot him as the guest of honor. But the well-wishers buzzing around him tipped it off.

ASCAP threw a party for the singer-songwriter Tuesday (Nov. 16) at its Nashville headquarters to toast his latest No. 1 single, “In a Real Love,” a song he co-wrote with Craig Wiseman.

The baby Vassar was lugging was his daughter, Presley. Also on hand were older daughter Haley, wife and co-writer Julie Wood-Vassar, Frank Rogers (who co-produced the hit single) and Wiseman.

Vassar met briefly with reporters before the party began. Alluding to achieving another No. 1, he said, “It’s a miracle anytime it happens.” He observed that his follow-up, “I’ll Take That as a Yes (The Hot Tub Song),” will be his first single he didn’t write or co-write. (Its composers are Jon McElroy and Vince Melamed.)

Vassar joked about his habit of visiting and jamming at fraternity houses when he plays a college town.

“You can’t take a college boy out of the fraternity,” he asserted. “It’s kind of fun, and they always have cold beer.”

A few minutes into the press conference, Wiseman walked in, carrying a bouquet of balloons. Finding himself upstaged, Vassar yielded the microphones to Wiseman, who launched into a long rambling account of his backstage adventures at the recent CMA awards show, where he and Tim Nichols had won song of the year honors.

ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, who hosted the celebration, reminded the crowd that “In a Real Love” was Vassar’s sixth No. 1 as a songwriter and had topped both the Billboard and Radio & Records charts for two weeks.

EMI Music’s Gary Overton and BMG Music’s Karen Conrad, the song’s publishers, presented No. 1 plaques to Vassar and Wiseman. Overton read an enthusiastic People magazine review of Vassar’s new album, Shaken Not Stirred. And the ever-puckish Wiseman presented the singer with a statue of a mooning Christmas elf.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to