“Maybe” is a song with words and music originally credited to End Records owner George Goldner and “Casey”. Writing credit was later transferred to Richard Barrett. Arlene Smith, lead singer of The Chantels, is believed to be an uncredited co-writer.. It was first recorded by the Chantels on October 16, 1957 in a doo-wop style with Barrett playing piano, released in December 1957, and climbing the charts in January 1958. It reached #15 in the pop chart and #2 in the R&B chart. It was subsequently described as “arguably, the first true glimmering of the girl group sound”. Rolling Stone ranked it #199 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song has been covered by many artists, including Janis Joplin, The Three Degrees (whose 1970 version became a top thirty hit) and The Shangri-Las. John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has performed the song in concert, as seen on the band’s live DVD, Live At Slane Castle. The song is the only recording attributed to Jill Read (which is not a pseudonym for the record’s producer, Dave Edmunds, and whose vocals were not manipulated in the studio to sound like a woman). Jill Read is in fact a girl named Gillian “Tawny” Reed born in Adamsdown, Cardiff. She recorded three 7″ singles in her short career.
The song made an appearance in the 2010 video game Mafia II, even though the game takes place in 1951 and the song was recorded in 1957.