Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in East Finchley, North London. His father, Kyriacos Panayiotou, a Greek Cypriot restaurateur, moved to England in the 1950s and changed his name to Jack Panos. Michael's mother, Lesley Angold (née Harrison, 1937–1997), was an English dancer who died from cancer in Fulham. Michael spent the majority of his childhood in North London, in the home his parents bought soon after his birth. While in his early teens, the family moved to Radlett, Hertfordshire. There Michael attended the Bushey Meads School in the neighbouring town of Bushey, where he met Andrew Ridgeley. The two had the same career ambition of being musicians.
His involvement in the music business began with his working as a DJ, playing at clubs and local schools around Bushey, Stanmore and Watford. This was followed by the formation of a short-lived ska band called The Executive with Ridgeley, Ridgeley's brother Paul, Andrew Leaver, and David Mortimer (aka David Austin).
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