Phil vassar Songs


Riley Johnson


March 19, 2024


March 19, 2024


March 19, 2024

Contemporary country singer Phil Vassar arrived on the country music scene in the late ‘90s, and since then, he has collected hits. And with ten number-one hits and 27 Top 40 songs under his belt, it’s not a stretch to call him a certified hitmaker. 

Vassar started as a songwriter. As the story goes, he played his original material in a club in Nashville, and a club patron and fan bought his demo tape. As it happened, this patron’s father was crooner Engelbert Humperdinck. The pop singer ended up cutting “Once in a While,” which Vassar co-wrote with a bartender friend. That opened a big door for him, and his career blossomed. He landed a publishing contract with EMI, penning number-one hits like Collin Raye’s “Little Red Rodeo,” Alan Jackson’s “Right on the Money,” and Tim McGraw’s “For a Little While,” to name a few. 

In 1998, Arista signed him, and then a year later, ASCAP awarded him the title Country Songwriter of the Year. His self-titled album came in 2000, and his lead single “Carlene” nabbed a Top 5. And he had an impressive follow-up with a chart-topper titled “Just Another Day in Paradise.” After that, he built a collection called Phil Vassar’s hit songs. 

It’s a long list, so we’re listing our favorites to help out anyone looking to get to know him. 

1. “Carlene”

From Phil Vassar (1999)

Co-written by Phil Vassar along with Charlie Black and Rory Bourke, this song was about a quarterback and a whiz girl who wore horn-rimmed glasses named *you guessed it right* Carlene and their transformation. He is now a songwriter with a couple of songs out on country radio, while she has a Ph.D. and models for Vogue. 

It’s a fun, uptempo song that captured the audience with its storytelling, earning Vassar a Top 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart and a Top 45 on the Hot 100. And it was an even bigger hit in Canada, peaking at number one! 

2. “Just Another Day in Paradise”

From Phil Vassar (1999)

Following “Carlene” is not just another hit but a chart-topping one. And the fun part about it was that it started like a fluke. 

According to Vassar, he and his fellow songwriter Craig Wiseman both had crazy mornings before they arrived in the room. When they did, they just started laughing, saying how blessed they were to get to write songs for a living, and it was just another day in paradise. The last phrase made an impact on both of them, and they decided to write it. 

The track ended up snatching the top of the charts, giving him his first number one, and even grabbing a Top 35 on the Hot 100. 

3. “Six-Pack Summer”

From Phil Vassar (2001)

This song, penned by Vassar, Charlie Black, and Tommy Rocco, is one of those tunes that’d make you enjoy summer even more. It’s because it sounds as breezy as a relaxing day at the beach, painting a snazzy picture of what a perfect hot day under the sun would look like: barbecuing, suntanning, and, of course, partying with a six-pack of your favorite beverage to quench the thirst. 

It peaked at number 9 on the Hot Country Songs chart and made it to the Hot 100 at number 56. 

4. “That’s When I Love You”

From Phil Vassar (2001)

Vassar’s self-titled debut album is the gift that keeps on giving. We’re halfway through the list, and we’re still here. 

The singer wrote this track with his ex-wife, Julie Wood, whom he married in 2002 in Naples, Florida, and divorced five years later. And it was definitely one of his most romantic tracks, detailing all the moments when he loved his lover – which was basically all the time. So, it was a song to say “I love you” in 19 different ways. (Yes, we counted.) So, it wasn’t surprising that it earned Vassar another Top 5 hit, peaking at number 3. 

5. “American Child”

From American Child (2002)

Vassar penned this song with Wiseman, with whom he worked with his first number-one, “Just Another Day in Paradise.” “American Child” was a personal saga of an American man from a 10-year-old boy playing first base in “Nowhere, Virginia,” becoming a father to his cute 7-pound, 3-ounce baby daughter. 

6. “In a Real Love”

From Shaken Not Stirred (2004)

Vassar and Wiseman cracked another chart-topping hit four years after their first. This was also the singer’s second number-one. 

The song takes on the story of an 18-year-old boy who thought he was cool with his letterman jacket and Chevrolet, running away with the cum laude on their graduation night. They were young, just finding out what life was, but they were determined to go through life together because that was real love. And then, at 22, they did find out it wasn’t easy – they were making dimes but spending dollars – and in the midst of that, they had to be ready for a baby. But just like when they were 18, they pushed through. Because, again, that was what real love meant. 

7. “Last Day of My Life”

From Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (2006)

This track was written by Vassar and former solo artist Tim Ryan. It peaked at number two on the charts, and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s a reminder that life is fragile and there’s no time to lose. 

8. “Love Is a Beautiful Thing”

From Prayer of a Common Man (2008)

Wiseman wrote this song along with Jeffrey Steele, and it was first recorded by Paul Brandt for his 1999 album That’s the Truth. Eight years later, Vassar covered the song. He retained the original arrangement and only made two minor changes. First was the line “haven’t spoken since ‘88,” which he changed to ‘98. The second was the ending. Brandt did a fadeout, while Vassar chose a cold piano outro. 

We hope you take the time to enjoy all of these Phil Vassar songs. 


Phil Vassar



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