Dennis Coffey remains an unsung hero from the halcyon era of Detroit soul, contributing guitar to landmark records issued on the Motown, Ric-Tic, and Revilot labels in addition to cutting a series of efforts under his own name, most notably the cult classic blaxploitation soundtrack Black Belt Jones. Born and raised in the Motor City, Coffey learned to play guitar at age 13 while visiting relatives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Though a fan of country music throughout adolescence, while attending Detroit's McKenzie High he also immersed himself in rock & roll, jazz, and blues, drawing inspiration from guitarists from Chuck Berry to Scotty Moore to Wes Montgomery. Coffey made his studio debut backing little-known rockabilly cat Vic Gallon on "I'm Gone," issued on the singer's own Gondola label. From there he played in a rockabilly duo with vocalist Durwood Hutto, eventually signing a recording contract with Jackie Wilson's manager, Nat Tarnopol. Through Tarnopol, Coffey met Motown owner Berry Gordy Jr., but he nevertheless established his reputation as a session player under the aegis of Ed Wingate's Ric-Tic label, contributing to records including Edwin Starr's "S.O.S. (Stop Her on Sight)," J.J. Barnes' "Real Humdinger," and the San Remo Strings' "Hungry for Love."