Music History

Published on June 4th, 2014 | by Alan Cross


The “Godfather of Ecstasy” Dies. (And No, I’m Not Talking About Anyone from the Happy Mondays)

Ravers are a little sadder today with the news that chemist and pharmacologist Alexander Shulgin has taken the ultimate trip.  After ingesting more than 4,000 tabs of E, Shulgin has died at the age of 88.  The cause? Liver cancer.

Shulgin had a powerful rep in psychoactive drug circles.  He discovered, created and tested hundreds of these drugs, most of them on himself.  But his biggest claim to fame was popularizing 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine–MDMA for short or just “Ecstasy.”

He didn’t discover it–that was a chemist named Anton Köllisch back in 1912–but he did re-discover the drug and introduced it to the medical community with an academic paper in 1978.  Once doctors and psychologists became aware of the drug, it eventually spread to the general population.  And we all know how popular it became with club culture.

More details at (of all places) International Business Times.



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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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