This has nothing to do with Mardi Gras, except that hearing about it makes me want to dance in the streets!
Perhaps the most highly-regarded unreleased record in rock history, the Beach Boys' SMiLE, is reportedly getting its official release 37 years after its creation, in fall 2004. According to a recent report from BBC News Online: "A few months ago Wilson revisited the SMiLE tapes in Capitol Records' vaults and went on to finish the album with his original lyricist, Van Dyke Parks."
Recorded between April 1966 and May 1967, SMiLE (working title Dumb Angel) was to be Brian Wilson's "teenage symphony to God," an album that would at once best the Beatles and surpass Wilson's latest masterpiece, Pet Sounds. Working with avant-garde lyricist Parks and the session players featured on Pet Sounds, Wilson crafted the album away from the other Beach Boys, who were then touring. Upon their return from the tour, the group met the album with mixed feelings, arguing that SMiLE's obscure lyrics and insanely dense compositions strayed too far from the norm to be considered for release.
Wilson continued to experiment with the studio through the recording of SMiLE, but also suffered bouts with severe drug addiction and mental instability that further delayed the album's completion. In perhaps the most-cited example of Wilson's paranoia, he reportedly became convinced that his music was responsible for a series of fires in the vicinity of the recording studio. Another oft-repeated legend says the reclusive genius cancelled several expensive recording sessions due to 'bad vibes,' distancing himself from his musicians, bandmates, record label, and Parks alike.