Saxophonist Bobby Wellins was born in Scotland in 1936 and grew up in the Gorbals. His mother and father were both in the variety side of show business, and his father played a big part in his early musical education. He heard a lot of jazz in the family home including Jimmy Lunceford, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, but when his father brought home a record by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie he was bitten with the bebop bug.
He played piano, alto sax and clarinet before joining the RAF as a musician playing tenor sax. After leaving the RAF and playing in a few Scottish bands he made the inevitable move to London for an apprenticeship with the big touring bands including a trip to the USA with Vic Lewis in 1955. He played with Buddy Featherstonhaugh in 1956/7 and other name bands in the late 1950s including Eric Winstone, Johnny Dankworth and Vic Lewis.