A recent thread was discussing the intent of Happy Together. As a former live sound engineer, what I most remember about the song are the fantastic production values - it sounds far better than most songs of its vintage, with some very clever audio choices.
Another favorite, that was never a hit, is Andy Prieboy’s (he wrote it) Tomorrow WendyThis is the youtube video. Wind it right up and have a listen.
I don’t think I’m all that good at picking up on production values. I’ve heard people castigating the production on LPs that I always thought were just fine.
I did notice, however, that my old 45 of “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” by the Electric Prunes seemed to sound much better than other 45s.
I also really like the production on “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells.
(I know, neither of these are “songs that no one listens to”, although the Prunes one might be pretty obscure nowadays. I remember, as a college DJ in the 70s, playing it one night and having someone call and say, “Wow, this is great! What is it?”)
I just want to chime in and agree about Happy Together. I’ve always loved the sonic space that song created and the contrast between the verses and choruses (some of those effects are musical, with the minor-major contrast [which is not exactly unique], but a lot of it is orchestration and engineering.)
In terms of sheer recording quality, Jennifer Warnes’ album The Hunter is hard to touch, especially on her cover of Pretending to Care. Gorgeous voice, perfectly captured by the brilliant Elliot Scheiner.