Dennis Scott Productions
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PAY A PIPER, AND YOU'LL CALL THE TUNE

''HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU" may be popular, but it's hardly scintillating. That's why some people want something different for special occasions. A familiar tune, perhaps, with custom-tailored lyrics. Or a fresh melody with lyrics that toast or roast the honoree.

A new song can be a present itself, if it comes with sheet music suitable for framing or a cassette recording.

But finding someone to write, sing and record a custom song can be a challenge. Songwriters' organizations do not routinely provide sources for such work. Still, some professional composers write original songs or parodies for individuals and corporations. "It can be a pleasure," said Dennis Scott , a New Yorker now composing in Nashville . He won a 1981 Grammy Award for his children's album, "Sesame Country."

Dennis Scott, a Grammy Award-winning composer, will write and record a song to order at his Nashville studio.

Mr. Scott can write a new song, but his specialty is parodies. "I listened to a lot of Allan Sherman as a kid," he said of the parody writer of the 60's.

His first album was "Songs That Tickle Your Funny Bone," parodies for children that include "Please Put Your Toys Away" to the tune of "Anchors Away." He has produced albums, written television and video sound tracks and composed dozens of songs. In 1987, Ray Charles sang "Always a Friend," which Mr. Scott helped write, on a television episode of "Who's the Boss."

For individual commissions, Mr. Scott gets lots of information about the subject. "Inside jokes, interesting traits, quirks, big events in the person's life, that type of thing," he said.

Though he usually writes new songs for corporate events, he thinks parodies of well-known songs work best at family gatherings. "That way people can concentrate on the lyrics and not strain to listen," he said.

He can also record his songs in his studio, with piano or orchestral accompaniment. Songs start at $300; studio work is additional.

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