The Force MDs is an American R&B vocal group, that was formed in 1981 in Staten Island, New York. Although the group has old school hip hop roots, they are perhaps best known for two tunes that are widely considered 1980s quiet storm classics, "Tender Love" and "Love is a House." They are considered major forerunners of the new jack swing movement.
The band was originally named The L.D.s, and then became the Force MCs, but ultimately preferred the name Force MDs, which stood for 'Musical Diversity'. Though the group was not quite always as recognizable as other New York R&B acts when it first started, they were among the first R&B vocal groups to intermix doo-wop-affected singing with and sometimes over hip-hop beats.
The band was comprised by brothers Stevie D., Antoine "T.C.D." Lundy, Rodney "Khalil" Lundy, and their uncle Jessie Lee Daniels. (Later, friends "Trisco" Pearson and Charles "Mercury" Nelson from the Mariners Harbor projects on Staten Island, NY joined the group.)
Performing and signing with a record label:
The group began performing on Times Square, New York City street corners and during trips on the Staten Island ferry. After the L.D.s connected with DJ Dr. Rock (Roger Daniels) they then performed as "Dr. Rock & the Force MCs."
In collaboration with Dr. Rock, the group continued to perfect their unique sound, which was unusual at the time: a fusion of doo-wop harmonies and hip-hop that involved singing, rapping and group member's "human beatbox" melodies at underground hip hop shows. They gained even more credibility and respect from local fans after competing in an emcee lyrical battle against the well known Cold Crush Brothers from the Bronx in 1983.
By 1984 the group signed with Tommy Boy Records, and they had developed into a pure quiet storm/contemporary R&B group, with its top-ten R&B hit "Tears" from the debut album, titled Love Letters. (With the exception of their first album, the group was the first act on Tommy Boy to have major-label distribution through its then-parent Warner Bros. Records.)
The group produced a collection of R&B hits throughout the 1980s, and received overwhelming commercial success from the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-penned love song "Tender Love" from their second album, 1985's Chillin'. The song was featured in the 1985 feature film and soundtrack Krush Groove, and proved to be a huge success, peaking at #10 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming an instant R&B classic after it stayed on the chart for 19 weeks. "Tender Love" was also one of the tracks that helped Jam & Lewis garner a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year.
In 1987 they finally scored their first R&B #1 hit, "Love is a House," from their third album, Touch & Go.
Waning popularity and member changes:
By the late 1980s the group's popularity began to wane. A fourth album, Step to Me, was released in 1990, which featured record production by Full Force, Marley Marl, Monte Moir (of the band The Time), and others. Members Pearson and Nelson left soon afterward, replaced by original member Rodney "Khalil" Lundy (who had initially left the band early in their career) and new member Shawn Waters. The group then released the album Moments in Time in 1994, but failed to chart or produce any hits. In 1996 the group appeared on several tracks on the Ghostface Killah album Ironman.
Deaths in the group and a last reunion:
Three of the group's members died within five years of each other: Nelson suffered a fatal heart attack in 1995; in 1998, Antoine Lundy died of Lou Gehrig's disease, and former collaborator DJ Dr. Rock, who died suddenly of natural causes in 1999.
The remaining members returned with a comeback album titled The Reunion in 2000, but once again failed to chart or register any hits.
Damen Heyward, a native of The Bronx, who was a member of the R&B group "Four By 4" and who has toured with artists such as Joe, recently joined the group.
The song "Tender Love" has been sampled in the 1996 Bone Thugs-n-Harmony hit "Dayz of Our Lives", and a number of current musicians have covered the song, including Alicia Keys, The Backstreet Boys, Kelly Rowland, Marques Houston and Marsha Ambrosius.,
In an interview in 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama highlighted the band among other artists included in his Air Force One iPod playlist when he travels.,
On April 8, 2010, the newly reformed Force MD's made their first national television appearance in over a decade on BET's The Mo'Nique Show.,
A documentary film titled The Force M.D.s Relived was shot recently, but the release date for a DVD is unknown at the moment.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license