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Idol was born William Michael Albert Broad on 30 November 1955 in Stanmore, Middlesex. He is of Irish descent on his mother's side. His parents were devout Anglicans and attended church regularly. In 1958, when he was two years old, he moved with his parents to Patchogue, New York. They also lived in Rockville Centre, New York. His younger sister, Jane, was born during this time. The family returned to England four years later and settled in Dorking, Surrey. In 1971, the family moved to Bromley in southeastern London, where Idol attended Ravensbourne School for Boys. His family later moved to the Worthing suburb of Goring-by-Sea in West Sussex, where he attended Worthing High School for Boys. In October 1975, he attended the University of Sussex to pursue an English degree and lived on-campus (East Slope) but left after year one in 1976. He then went on to join the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, a loose gang that traveled into town when the band played.

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