While running an errand, I heard the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" on the car radio.
I've heard it dozens of times, probably. It's a nice song, but I wouldn't call it a great song.
But it's a great record. The sound exploded off the radio. It had that touch reminiscent of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. For them, even when the song itself isn't great, the record is great. Somebody in the recording studio wasn't going to rest until everything was just right.
I don't know if the Beach Boys got the respect due them until the Pet Sounds album.
But it seems to me that they brought a level of professionalism and quality to pop music recording that is unsurpassed.
This lip-synced version may be underwhelming, but it has the sound I'm talking about: