One of my favorite R&B songs is "Maybe", which was recorded by the Chantels in 1957. The song was written by Arlene Smith and producer Richard Barrett. It went on to become a huge hit for the group, selling over one million copies, which made them the first "girl" group to accomplish this feat. They are considered to be one of the earliest of the "all girl" groups, which would eventually spawn acts such as The Cookies, The Supremes, and The Shangri-Las, to name only a few. The influence of these goups also spread into the Rock and Roll genre, with artists like The Beatles covering songs such as The Cookies version of "Chains", which had been written by Carole King.
By the late 1960's even Janis Joplin was covering some of the best songs of the 1930's through the 60's. "Summertime" by Cole Porter comes to mind, as does "Little Girl Blue" by Rodgers and Hart. But one of my favorite covers by her was when she did "Maybe" on the "I Got Them Ol' Kozmic Blues Again, Mama" album. She infused that song with the blues, pure and simple. I have both versions on my flash drive, back to back, and sometimes even I have to stop and marvel at the two interpretations of this great song. There is also another live version of this song, by Janis Joplin, from the Dick Cavett Show, which left the audience near tears. This version is from Germany in 1969.
And this is a link to an interview with Arlene Smith, which I hope you will find interesting;