The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture is to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Afro-Americans.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Legend: Dennis Coffey

Dennis started his playing career by completing his first record date at the age of 15. While still in his early twenties, he had a choice to make that would impact his musical journey. He was offered a job to tour with jazz legend organist Groove Holmes and offered a job to play with the famous Funk Brothers as a studio musician at Motown. Dennis had a family to support so he made the decision to work at Motown.

He has worked with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, and The Four Tops in Detroit and LA. He has also worked with Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Wilson Pickett, George Clinton, Earl Klugh and Jazz Crusaders - Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder.

His career encompasses eleven solo albums and CD’s and movie theme songs for Black Belt Jones from Warner Bothers. He has had three international top ten hits himself with “Scorpio”, “Taurus”, and “Wings of Fire” and has two gold singles and one gold album. His CD, “Under the Moonlight,” was number four in the country on the New Adult Contemporary Chart in Radio and Records. He has won numerous awards from Billboard Magazine and BMI and has played on over 100 million selling recordings.

Dennis has performed in the UK supporting his book that reached number four in London, England called, “Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars”. His book is also available in the US and Canada from The University of Michigan Press. He is also in the documentary, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”, the PBS Special “Rhythm, Love, and Soul”, and the TV Special, “The Four Tops 50th Anniversary Show”.

Dennis has appeared at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin and the House of Blues in New Orleans with Buckwheat Zydeco on B3 organ and Lil’ Buck Senegal’s band. Dennis recently has performed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with guitarists Larry Carlton and John Pizzarelli. He also received a Pioneer Award as a Motown Funk Brother from the R&B Foundation in Philadelphia. Dennis has presented at the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona, Spain and will be appearing again at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with guitar legend Les Paul and others in November.


  • 1970 - Hair and Thangs
  • 1971 - Evolution
  • 1972 - Goin' For Myself
  • 1973 - Electric Coffey
  • 1974 - Black Belt Jones Soundtrack
  • 1974 - Dance Party
  • 1974 - Instant Coffey
  • 1975 - Finger Lickin' Good
  • 1977 - Back Home
  • 1978 - A Sweet Taste of Sin
  • 1989 - Under The Moonlight
  • 1990 - Motor City Magic
  • 2006 - Rise of the Phoenix



Visit the Museum of Black Cult Cinema for additional information and digital media.