Thomas Edison famously said that genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration. In Ludwig Van Beethoven’s case, the ratio was closer to 2/98. Although Beethoven was born on this day in 1770, his talent went unrecognized for several months, and after some crappy gigs in the courts of Bonn, Germany, LVB went to Vienna to seek a meeting with Wolfgang A. Mozart. Apparently the meeting never happened, and Beethoven had to settle for camaraderie with B-List composer, Joseph Haydn. At the time, the nobility of Austria got their jollies by commissioning young upstarts to compose jingles for their amusement (think Uncle Jesse on Full House). Hell, all us creative types need day jobs, and Ludwig was no different. He diligently studied the work of his predecessors while producing a prolific output, and his popularity grew to James Taylor, or even Kid Rock-like heights. But fate is an ironic bitch, and Beethoven began to lose his hearing at age 26. Ever the proponent of counterpoint, our hero retaliated by composing one of the world’s most beloved musical treasures, his 9th Symphony, while almost entirely deaf. We’re all familiar with his melodies: ba ba ba BA, de di de de di la da da du (or was that Brahms?); they are programmed into our cell phones and fine-dining restaurants, and my electric toothbrush for some reason. Beethoven’s music is the music is the human spirit: powerful, complex, divine. Listen to one of the great man’s compositions today. Treat yourself to a bit of the ol’ Ludwig Van. Happy birthday, maestro!