John Philip Thackray (Jake Thackray) was born in Kirkstall, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, the son of Ernest Thackray, a policeman, and Ivy May Thackray, née Armitage. He was educated at the Jesuit St. Michael's College in Leeds
Jake Thackray (27 February, 1938 - 24 December, 2002) was a singer-songwriter in the tradition of French chansonniers such as his friend and inspiration Georges Brassens. Born in Yorkshire and educated at the highly respected University of Durham, Thackray became a teacher in the early 1960s and started singing, both in folk clubs and to amuse his students. He became a familiar figure on television in the late 1960s, often composing a new song every week. He recorded several albums and was a popular stage performer, but Thackray preferred the smaller, more intimate atmosphere of folk clubs. He retired from recording in the mid 1970s and scaled down his performances to his favoured small venues.
Jake's precise diction and risque lyrics won him comparison to Noël Coward; his distinctive nylon-stringed guitar technique is deceptively complex.
Jake retired to Monmouthshire in Wales in the 1990s, where he died in 2002.
A musical based on his work, Sister Josephine Kicks The Habit, made its debut in 2005. After many years out of print, Jake's music has started to reappear - Jake In A Box collects all of his EMI work and a number of live albums have appeared, highlighting Jake's rapport with his audiences, his tall tales, and his warmth as a performer.