Nicholas Roubanis allegedly wrote the song on a napkin in a New York restaurant in the late 1920s. He may have been from Alexandria, Egypt, and he married a woman, Katherine, who served as handmaiden to the queen of Egypt.
Dick Spottswood issued a re-release of an earlier recording, "Mousourloum," in the 1980s. The Turkish word "Mısırlı" means "Egyptian" and derives from the Arabic word "Masr" meaning Egypt. Greeks changed the ending "-li" into "-lou," making it feminine (Egyptian woman).
"Misirlou" (Columbia 56073-F) was made by the Greek-American singer and record productor Tetos Dimitriadis in New York, July 1927.
1931: The "Mousourlou" recording by Michalis Patrinos calls the tune a zeibekiko in 9/4, but it might be a tsiftetelli in 4/4.
Steve Frangos ("The Greek-American National Anthem, MS 1996), cites Roubanis as the original composer, copyright "Misirlou" in 1934.
1941: Misirlou Music, Inc. held the copyright for the song. Frangos says Misirlou Music, Inc. was Tetos Demy/Tetos Dimitriadis.
1941: Copyrighted by Colonial Music Publishing Co., Inc, New York.
1969: Miserlou Music, Inc. Copyright renewed.
International Copyright Secured.
English lyrics by Fred Wise, Milton Leeds and S.K. Russell.