Erma Franklin, that’s who.
Aretha’s older sister, she was nominated for a Grammy for the original 1967 R&B version of “Piece Of My Heart,” a song later made far more famous by Janis Joplin.
I’d never heard Erma’s rendition of the song before, but I was expecting it to be almost unrecognizable and very different from Joplin’s version. After all, Erma herself said she didn’t know it was the same song when she first heard Joplin sing it on the radio.
But I don’t know why. Yes, Erma has a more conventional R&B way of performing it, minus the screams and embellishments and the Dionysian desperation and vulnerability that were Joplin’s trademarks. But still, it’s very very much the same song, and Erma’s pretty great herself even in comparison to the other two Very Greats:
Berns also wrote “Twist and Shout” and the abominable (IMHO) “Hang on Sloopy,” and was an influential producer as well. As for Ragovoy, he also composed “Time Is On My Side;” as well as “Cry Baby,” “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder), and “Get it While You Can” (all covered by Joplin); and “Stay With Me.”
Here’s the incomparable Janis, by the way, in case you never saw/heard her, or to refresh your memory:
And here’s Erma’s reprise of “Piece” in 1992. She still looks and sounds mighty good.