In 1960, Chong Chow Pin (referred to by his nickname "Jap"), Raymond Leong, Henry Chua and Lim Wee Guan often listened to British music records featuring the electric guitar. Students of about 13 and 14 years old at the time, they were neighbours in the Tiong Bahru area. Inspired by music acts such as Cliff Richard and the Shadows, the four practised playing popular songs. While they did not have formal training in playing instruments or reading music, they acquired these skills through imitation and practice.
In 1961, the four formed The Quests, with Chong on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Leong on lead guitar, Chua on bass guitar, and Lim on drums. The name of the band was derived from the school magazine of Queenstown Secondary Technical School (now Queenstown Secondary School), where Chong and Leongwere students.
The Quests' first paid performance was at St Andrew's Mission in 1961. As they were just starting out, they had to borrow instruments and equipment from friends and family. The band was paid $20 for the event.
In 1963, Reggie Verghese, then of The Checkmates, replaced Raymond Leong, who left the band to pursue an engineering career. With the addition of Siri Pereiraas lead vocalist for a brief period, the band became known as Siri Pereira and The Quests. When Wilson David replaced Pereira, the band became known as Wilson David and The Quests. Due to David's reputation as the "Elvis Presley of Singapore", the band added a number of Elvis songs to their repertoire.