Singer/songwriter Harriet Schock is best known for writing "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady," Helen Reddy's 1975 hit. In a career that spans close to 30 years, she has recorded several albums, all of which were critical successes if not bestsellers. She has also worked as a songwriting instructor, both privately and at USC. Her book, "Becoming Remarkable: For Songwriters and Those Who Love Songs" (Blue Dolphin Press, 1999), is something of a bible for aspiring musicians.
Schock was born in Texas and was encouraged to play the piano from an early age. Her father had been a musician before concentrating on medicine and eventually becoming a famous dermatologist. In 1973, having moved to Los Angeles, Schock was signed as a staff writer for Colgems-EMI after quitting her first job in advertising. Shortly afterwards, she landed a recording contract with Columbia, which fell through overnight. Instead, Schock ended up signed to 20th Century Records, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox. Her first album, Hollywood Town, was released in 1974, and the following year Helen Reddy took "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady" to number eight, which Schock had performed on her debut.
Schock made two more albums for 20th Century Fox (She's Low Clouds, 1974, and You Don't Know What You're in For, 1976) and enjoyed further success as artists including Vicki Carr, Johnny Mathis, and Lee Greenwood began recording her songs. She was also twice named Best New Female Artist by Cashbox. Throughout the '80s, she didn't record, but she was signed as a writer to Jobete by Berry Gordy. This led to songs for Roberta Flack and also spawned another huge song on a par with "Ain't No Way to Treat A Lady," "First Time on a Ferris Wheel." The track hasn't been a hit single, but recordings of it by Smokey Robinson, Carl Anderson, Gloria Loring, and Nancy Wilson have granted it the status of a near-standard.
Schock returned to recording in the '90s with American Romance. This was produced by Nik Venet, who had famously been instrumental in launching the Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt, Lou Rawls, Jim Croce, and Dory Previn, and with whom Schock had a personal and professional relationship that lasted until his death in 1998. The following year, Schock released her fifth album, Rosebud, which had again been produced by Venet, and her first book, "Becoming Remarkable." Her live show has since garnered a Dramalog Award, and she has written songs for films including "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking." She offers correspondence courses in songwriting through her website (www.harrietschock.com) and tours regularly, not only with her own show, but also with her popular songwriting seminars. ~ Charles Donovan