Eric Coates (August 27, 1886 – December 21, 1957) was an English composer of light music and a viola player. He was born in Hucknall in Nottinghamshire, the son of a doctor, and studied music at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1906, receiving viola lessons from Lionel Tertis. From 1910 he played in the Queen's Hall Orchestra under Henry Wood, becoming principal violist in 1912. By the end of the 1910s he was concentrating entirely on composition, having been forced to give up the viola for medical reasons. Amongst his early champions was Sir Edward Elgar.
"By The Sleepy Lagoon" became a hit and was later adopted by the BBC as the signature tune for their popular programme "Desert Island Discs" which has run for more than 50 years.