The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

New Biography of St Michael’s College Alumnus, Jake Thackray

Beware of the Bull – The Enigmatic Genius of Jake Thackray by Paul Thompson and John Watterson is the first, much-anticipated biography of the late, great Yorkshire singer-songwriter, and former pupil of St Michael’s College, in Leeds. Jake is increasingly recognised as one of the greatest and most original artists of the twentieth century; a unique talent and master storyteller, whose songs are full of wit, poetry, irreverence and humanity.

The book reveals a life as extraordinary as his writing: the difficult upbringing in the terraces of Leeds; his Catholic education in Leeds during the 1940s and 50s, and transformative experiences in France and Algeria; first career as an inspirational, unorthodox and highly creative teacher; Jake’s meteoric development as a writer and performer, and subsequent discovery by the BBC; the Abbey Road recordings and his unexpected influence on The Beatles; the fame and fortune brought by a remarkable television career… and Jake’s rejection of it all.

This is the story of a complex, charismatic and self-effacing man whom many loved, but few understood. Beware of the Bull has been written with the full support of the Thackray family. Granted exclusive access to personal papers, it shares a wealth of previously unpublished lyrics, poetry and letters, and is illustrated with rare and never-before-seen photographs. Some of the research was carried out at the Leeds Diocesan Archives using records from St Michael’s College and some of the other schools Jake attended. Through it all, Jake’s unique voice is heard afresh, and his life and work better understood.

Hardback – 480 pages; Price: £20.00. For further information go to