Better late than never. After 37 years, American fans of the Beach Boys will finally get to hear the group's legendary lost album, ''Smile,'' both on disc and in concert. Beach Boys composer Brian Wilson, who notoriously shelved the unfinished 1967 album in the midst of his spiral into mental illness and his fierce artistic competition with the Beatles (who released their own landmark, ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,'' a month after Wilson stopped working on ''Smile''), has finally completed and recorded the song cycle. Having premiered it in a London concert in February, to rave reviews, he'll put out the album on Sept. 28. And USA Today reports that he's confirmed dates for a fall tour, which will include 21 shows, starting Sept. 30 in Minneapolis and winding down Nov. 2 in Los Angeles, during which he'll perform ''Smile'' in its entirety.
''Smile,'' a three-movement pop suite about America, with lyrics by Van Dyke Parks, was never completely lost -- tracks such as ''Good Vibrations'' and ''Heroes and Villains'' trickled out onto other Beach Boys releases -- but its unavailability for four decades has only increased its mystique and reputation. Wilson, who released a solo album ''Gettin' in Over My Head'' in June, has been performing ''Smile'' again in London in recent weeks. ''We're really blowing peoples' minds,'' he told British music magazine NME last week. ''When we get to the encores, I feel like the roof is lifting off the hall and we're all going to take off.''