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'Will' and Manilow 'Living with Grace'

Eric McCormack and guest star Barry Manilow are in an episode of "Will \\\\& Grace" that aired last season.
Eric McCormack and guest star Barry Manilow are in an episode of "Will \\\\& Grace" that aired last season.
NBC/Chris Haston

The "soundtrack" album for "Will & Grace" is pretty much what you might expect — a rather blatant attempt to wring a few more dollars out of the franchise.

Even Eric McCormack (Will) acknowledged, "The network wanted to put out a soundtrack album (because) they've done well for other shows."

The only problem being that "We don't really have a soundtrack, except for the theme song," so NBC licensed "disco tunes or related tunes."

Most of the tracks on "Will & Grace: Let the Music Out" are either somehow appropriate (Queen's "You're My Best Friend," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Britney's Spears' "Oops — I Did It Again") or from various people who've guest-starred on the show (Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," Elton John's "The Bitch is Back," Jennifer Lopez's "Waiting for Tonight").

But Megan Mullally joins Carly Simon for a remake of "The Right Thing to Do." And then there's a song McCormack co-wrote with Barry Manilow — a song the actor sings on the CD.

"I started talking to Barry Manilow, who had been on the show," McCormack said. "Will played a huge fan of his — not much of a stretch for me because I'm a secret Fan-ilow."

Really?

"Yes, absolutely," McCormack said. "I'm out of the closet now. I think he's a great songwriter and great arranger and a great singer."

The two "hit if off" when Manilow guest-starred on the sitcom last year. "He was so nervous on our show, and I was able to sort of calm him down for our three-line scene," McCormack said. "And it was kind of fun to have him do exactly the same thing to me when it came time to record my vocals. He was a great producer and a great hand-holder that way."

They had been discussing singing a duet on the "Will & Grace" CD when McCormack pitched something slightly different. The actor said, "I want to write a song with you. . . . And he said that would be great."

"Living with Grace" is a very Manilow-ish song, complete with lush orchestration — and McCormack's Barry-ish vocals. "It's a song from Will's perspective, seven years in looking back at his relationship with this woman," McCormack said. "We recorded that in Studio A at Capitol Records. Bill Ramon produced, Paul Buckmaster did the orchestration.

"It was like a musical fantasy camp for me that I was parachuted into for a day. That was very, very cool."


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com