Arguably the greatest composer ever, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) seems to have suffered horribly throughout his life from the effects of lead poisoning. "There are many possibilities," says Bill Walsh, who headed a team that studied Beethoven's hair samples and fragments from his skull at the Department of Energy laboratory in Argonne, Ill. The composer was a wine lover, and wine at the time was known to contain high lead levels. He also drank out of a goblet made partially of lead and stayed at a spa where he drank mineral water, Walsh says.
This explains Beethoven's legendary irritability. For much of Beethoven's later life, the composer was friendless even as he wrote some of the greatest masterpieces ever (such as the Missa Solemnis).
Legendary irritability ... Makes us wonder if another legendary (though talentless) grouch drinks his Kool Ade from a lead goblet.