Producing music is a strange branch of engineering development. (I call it that because I became a hardware and software development manager in the computer industry and the parallels are close.) I came across an excellent example of the role of the producer the other day, this one by Beatles producer George Martin ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WkUgNKOtSE
Here the producer has taken a musical sketch -- essentially a song plugger's demo -- little more than the audio equivalent of a lead sheet -- a recording that would have flopped in its original form -- and turned it into a hit recording that everyone of my generation knows and likes, and that sold enormously well. . (By the way, Martin's information is all new to me. Until I came across this video I knew only the end product "A Day In The Life", not anything about where the song idea had come from from or how it had been developed.)
Of course not every Beatles musical idea was Martin's, but he created the climate in which the experimentation took place and in which the things that had proved not to work were discarded while the things that did work were retained. He was also smart enough to keep the original Lennon guitar/vocal track. Evidently he knew he would never get a better take and he didn't waste time trying. It's as with Robert Cray, the blues session guitarist. He'll give you as many takes as you like, but most of the time you'll prefer the first one because of the combination of freshness and perfection. Subsequent takes are always good and always flawless, but there is usually some loss of spontaneity.
The album that this piece closed so dramatically was an astonishing line in the sand of pop music history, as was the piece itself. Before Sergeant Pepper albums were a kind of supermarket buy-one-get-twelve deal, like my dearly loved Chess Records "One Dozen Berries". After Pepper they were ... well ... the album itself was now the musical product -- the musical art object -- and the songs were simply components of the album.
As it happens I personally didn't care for this development though of course the broad market loved it, as did the major record companies. What bothered me was that it left no room in the business for artists who had less than an album's worth of things to say musically. In other words, no more three-hit Junior Walkers ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_XYlvN_-C0
and certainly no more one-hit wonders like Fantastic Johnny C ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeVHyMFdCFA
and most especially no more not-even-a-single-hit wonders like the Johnson Twins ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ8sR77Otxo
who had been a Stax/Volt studio vanity recording walkin that Steve Cropper overheard and decided to produce, and who were never heard from again.
Those were the good old days and I'm still mired in them to a very great extent. I know about the "He's My Guy" recording only because I bought the Stax/Volt full catalog release CD set, which also contains this gem by one Johnny Taylor ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV6K2MaJG2g
The tasteful, simple horns arrangement here is by Packy Axton, son of legendary country producer, songwriter and publisher Hoyt Axton. Axton the younger wrote all the Stax/Volt horn section charts and played trumpet on them when trumpet was scored. (And now you know what a musical director does.)
An aside regarding Shotgun ... It contains the line "I said we're going down here, listen to the flame blues". I didn't understand the reference till 35 years later when, in 2003, I happened to be driving down a shabby major street in Detroit one night and passed a dive named the Flame Lounge. It turns out that James Brown named his "Famous Flames" after that same venue.