It's always fun to listen to what's inside a hit record, especially when some of the polish is wiped off. Here's a great example of a great arrangement and playing on The Temptations big hit "Papa Was A Rolling Stone." It's the instrumental-only version, except for the background harmony vocals in the chorus. Here's what to listen for.
1. The stereo panning is very distinct with most of the instruments either hard left, hard right or center. One of the cooler things is how the guitars are split hard left and right, with the fills in the center or just off to one side.
2. This is an excellent example of a song written around a single riff that never changes. All of the dynamics, and the differentiation between the sections, are created strictly by the arrangement. Not an easy feat.
3. The only drums are kick and high hat. The backbeat in the second half of the chorus comes from some highly compressed handclaps.
4. There are a lot of guitars playing. Usually there's a minimum of 2 but at times as many as 6. You never think of a Motown song being that guitar intense, but it's actually easier to do with clean guitars than distorted.
5. There's a touch of one beautiful sounding reverb on most of the instruments, with the exception of a tape delay on the solo trumpet.