R.I.P. Jessie Lee Daniels of the pioneering act, the Force MDs

Share this article

    (January 5, 2022) 2022 is not starting the way we hoped. Today we are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of Jessie Lee Daniels, a founding member of the pioneering soul/Hip-Hop group the Force MDs. He was 58.

    With the “MD” standing for “Musical Diversity,” the Force MDs broke out of Staten Island, New York in 1981 as a breath of fresh air, cleverly combining hip-hop beats with smooth soulful harmonies. Originally consisting of Daniels along with brothers Stevie, Antone and Rodney Lundy, the group quickly became a sextet with the inclusion of Trisco Pearson and Charles “Mercury” Nelson.

    (January 5, 2022) 2022 is not starting the way we hoped. Today we are sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of Jessie Lee Daniels, a founding member of the pioneering soul/Hip-Hop group the Force MDs. He was 58.

    With the “MD” standing for “Musical Diversity,” the Force MDs broke out of Staten Island, New York in 1981 as a breath of fresh air, cleverly combining hip-hop beats with smooth soulful harmonies. Originally consisting of Daniels along with brothers Stevie, Antone and Rodney Lundy, the group quickly became a sextet with the inclusion of Trisco Pearson and Charles “Mercury” Nelson.

    After earning a well-deserved reputation for creativity in the NYC area, the act was signed by upstart Tommy Boy Records and immediate had a hit with the 1984 ballad “Tears” and the debut album Love Letters. The Force MDs' blending of styles wowed critics, and made the group an immediate critical darling, even before large sales arrived.

    But those sales came over the course of the 80s, particularly with the group’s signature song, “Tender Love,” a Jam/Lewis number that shot to the top 10 of both the R&B and pop charts, and “Love Is A House,” which went to #1.

    The Force MDs continued to record with some success into the 90s, before a string of unthinkable tragedies befell the members, with the too-soon deaths of Nelson in 1995 and Antone Lundy in 1998. Several members then came and left, including Daniels, as the Force MDs quietly receded from the limelight.

    In the 2010s, the group began performing again, though tragedy struck again as Trisco Pearson passed of cancer in 2016. The Force MDs, now consisting of Stevie and Rodney Lundy and Zieme Capers, have continued to record independently with some success, earning a SoulTracks Readers’ Choice Award nomination in 2020 for the ballad “Fly With You.”

    The passing of Jessie Lee Daniels is another sad blow for those of us old enough to remember how the Force MDs changed the musical landscape in the 1980s and opened up the merger of musical styles in a way that resonates to this day. Rest in peace, Mr. Daniels.

    By Chris Rizik

    Thanks to SoulTracker Darren for letting us know

     
    Choice Cut - Brother Reggie - "Love Song"
    Choice Cut - KEA - "Turn It Around"
    Choice Cut - Sargent Tucker - "Don't Blame Love"
    Song of the Month - Acantha Lang - "It's Gonna Be Alright"