This was the first Motown song to use a wah-wah pedal. A white guitarist named Dennis Coffey brought it to a Motown workshop and played it for Whitfield while he was arranging this song. Whitfield loved the way it worked and had Coffey join the Motown house band when they recorded the track.
Whitfield used Coffey on many more sessions, including the seminal track "War
." Coffey, who had a hit on his own with "Scorpio
," considers his work on "Cloud Nine" some of his best. "It's kicking major ass," he told Songfacts
. "That groove was so funky it's amazing."