Sad news out of the R&B world. Singer Jessie Lee Daniels, a founding member of the pioneering soul/R&B group Force MDs, had died. He was 58. With the MD standing for Musical Diversity, the Force MDs emerged from Staten Island New York in 1981 as a breath of fresh air, cleverly combining hip hop beats with smooth street corner harmonies. Originally consisting of Daniels along with brothers Stevie, Antoine and Rodney Lundy, the group later became a sextet with the addition of Trisco Pearson and Charles “Mercury” Nelson. After earning a well deserved reputation for creativity in the New York City area, the group was signed to Tommy Boy Records and had an immediate hit with the ballad “Tears” and their debut album “Love Letters.” The Force MD’s blending of styles wowed critics, and made the group an immediate critical darling, even before large sales arrived. Those sales came over the course of the 1980s, particularly with the group’s signature song, “Tender Love”, a ballad composed by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis which reached the top 10 on both the pop and R&B charts, and “Love Is A House”, which reached No. 1. The Force MD’s continued to record with some success into the 1990s, before a string of unthinkable tragedies befell members, with the too soon deaths of Nelson in 1995 and Antoine Lundy in 1998. Several members 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 died of cancer in 2016. The Force MD’s, now consisting of Stevie and Rodney Lundy and Zieme Capers, have continued to record independently with some success, earning a Soul Trackers Readers Choice Award in 2020 for the ballad “Fly With You.” The passing of Jessie Lee Daniels is another sad blow for those 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 still resonates to this day. May Mr. Daniels rest in peace.