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Eric Coates

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Hucknall, Nottinghamshire (1886 – 1957)

Eric Coates (1886-1957) was an English composer, primarily of light music, including much film music.

Born on the 27th August 1886 in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, Coates belonged to a musical family. He studied at the Royal Academy before playingthe viola under Henry Wood’s baton in the Queen’s Hall Orchestra.

Chronic pain forced him to give up playing the viola, and he concentrated on his considerable powers as a composer. Much of his music is still well-known, such as the theme of the film The Dambusters, “The Dam Busters March”, the signature tune of Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs, “By The Sleepy Lagoon”, and the BBC’s Music while You Work signature tune(1940-1967) “Calling All Workers”.

Coates died on the 21st December 1957.

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