Sid Vicious and Beethoven, long-lost twins? -- The classical composer and the punk rock star actually have a lot in common

By A.J. Jacobs
January 27, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

He was a tortured, self-destructive musician played by Gary Oldman in a critically acclaimed biopic. We speak, of course, of Sid Vicious? Or is it Ludwig van Beethoven? Well, actually, both. Immortal Beloved, the new Oldman flick about a funny-haired classical composer, may give you deja vu. After all, Beethoven was a 19th-century version of Vicious, the funny-haired Sex Pistol portrayed by Oldman in 1986’s Sid and Nancy. Witness these other eerie similarities:

Trashed hotel room.
Was deaf.
Framed for his busts (the statue variety).
Wrote Opus 17.
Wrote inspired music for violins.
Composed anti-monarchy song: ”Eroica” originally dedicated to Napolean.
Had memorable Heroic Period.
At the end of his life, Beethoven wouldn’t play music.

Trashed his hotel room.
Played deafening music.
Famed for his busts (the statutory variety).
Sang ”Seventeen.”
Cowrote music that inspired violence.
Played anti-monarchy song: ”God Save the Queen, she ain’t no human being.”
Allegedly drove loved one to commit suicide (Nancy, his girlfriend).
Had memorable heroin period.
At the end of his life, Vicious still couldn’t play music.