The 1927 U.S version of Misirlou sung by Tetos Demetriades and composed by Nikos Roubanis.

Most people would be familiar with the tune from the opening scene of the 90's classic film Pulp Fiction, however, most are probably unaware of the tune's origins. The tune is called Misirlou (Egyptian Girl). The term Misirlou originates from the Arabic word Miṣr which means Egypt. In Greek, the suffix -ou denotes the feminine form of a name. The Greek lyrics to the song describe the love between a Greek Christian man and an Egyptian Muslim woman. The exact origins of the tune are unknown however it's likely it originated in Asia Minor or Egypt.

The first known recording of the song in Greek is in New York in 1927. Nikos Roubanis composed the lyrics and Tetos Demetriades sang the song. Demetriades was born in Constantinople (today Istanbul) in the late 1800's. At the time, Constantinople was part of the Ottoman Empire. He moved to the US in 1921 during the second phase of the Greek Genocide. Once in the US the song was rearranged and performed by a number of artists including Dick Dale, and the Beach Boys in the 60's. The Dick Dale version, an upbeat version of the original Rebetiko tune was used in the opening scene of the film Pulp Fiction.

Llisten to the 1963 Dick Dale version of Misirlou 
Listen to the original 1927 version

 

Top