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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Misirlou / Miserlou
(English Lyrics)

 

This page contains two different English versions of the lyrics to the popular song "Misirlou", which is often spelled "Miserlou". The first known recording of "Misirlou" was sung in Greek by Theodotos (Tetos) Demetriades in 1927. The first known version using the English lyrics was recorded in 1941 by Mitchell Ayres.

Original Greek Lyrics and Music: Nicholas (Nikos) Roubanis
English Lyrics: Bob Russell, Fred Wise and Milton Leeds

A second version of English lyrics was written in 1967 by Gail Collins, for performance by the band The Devil's Anvil.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo shows Mitchell Ayres, the first vocalist to release a recording of "Misirlou" with English lyrics by Russell, Wise, and Leeds.

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.

Mitchell Ayres

 

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Listen to MP3 Clips of This Song

Note Sung in Greek by Tetos Dimitriadis (the original artist)
Note Surf guitar instrumental by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones
Note Sung in English by Harry Saroyan (in English)
Note Oud instrumental by Pangia

 

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The Lyrics by Russell, Wise, and Leeds

This is the version that has been the most widely recorded by English-speaking artists.

Desert shadows creep across purple sands.
Natives kneel in prayer by their caravans.
There, silhouetted under an eastern star
I see my long lost blossom of Shalimar.

Oooooo, Misirlou, you're the moon and sun, fairest one!

Old temple bells are calling across the sand
We'll find our Kismet answering love's command.

You, Misirlou, are a dream of delight in the night.

To an oasis, sprinkled by stars above,
Heaven will guide us, Allah will bless our love.

 

 

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Harry Saroyan's Version

The version of "Misirlou" that Harry Saroyan recorded on his album Saroyan Sings Cairo is sing partly in English and partly in Spanish.

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the lyrics.

As Sung by Saroyan

In English

Sung in English

In English

Desert shadows creep across purple sands. Desert shadows creep across purple sands.
Natives kneel in prayer by their caravans. Natives kneel in prayer by their caravans.
There, silhouetted, under an eastern star There, silhouetted, under an eastern star
I see my long lost blossom of Shalimar. I see my long lost blossom of Shalimar.(1)
   
Ah, Misirlou, you're the moon and the sun, fairest one! Ah, Misirlou, you're the moon and the sun, fairest one!
   
Old temple bells are calling across the sand. Old temple bells are calling across the sand.
We'll find our Kismet, answering love's command. We'll find our Kismet (2), answering love's command.
Heaven will guide as we go hand in hand. Heaven will guide as we go hand in hand.
   

Sung in Spanish

In English

Sombras del desierto dan su anochecer. The shadows of the desert give their dusk.
Los caravaneros oran a su Dios The people in the caravans pray to their God
y una estrella baja a iluminar. And a star comes down to illuminate.
Veo en silueta mi flor de Shalimar. I see in a silhouette, my flower of Shalimar.
Tu, Miserlu, preferida por luna y sol. You, Miserlou, preferred by moon and sun.
Viejas campanas se oyen hoy resonar. The sound of old bells can be heard.
Nuestro destino nos une para amar Our destiny is bringing us together to love
y de la mano el cielo nos ha de guiar And the sky/heaven will take our hands and guide us.
   

Sung in English

In English

Old temple bells are calling across the sand.
Old temple bells are calling across the sand.
We'll find our Kismet, answering love's command.
We'll find our Kismet, answering love's command.
Heaven will guide as we go hand in hand. Heaven will guide as we go hand in hand.
  1. Shalimar refers to a series of gardens from India's Mughal empire. Some of these gardens were built in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. They were built in the Persian style of architecture.
  2. The word "kismet" is one of several words in Turkish that can mean "fate" or "destiny". It is derived from the Arabic word قسمة (kisma), which can mean "destiny", among other things.

 

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The Devil's Anvil Version

These lyrics were written in 1967 by Gail Collins, the wife of Felix Pappalardi, one of the musicians in a 1960's group called The Devil's Anvil.

Misirlou
I saw you through the door
Naked feet that danced across the floor
Eyes full of madness
Hiding the sadness there
Hiding the love that’s destined to go nowhere.

Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh, Misirlou!

Now that I’ve seen you,
My life is not the same!
Here in the lonely morning I call your name.

Ooooooo ooooooo ooooooo, Misirlou!

I feel you everywhere
I see your face and touch your golden hair
Soft arms enfolding here in the cold I stand
Waiting to see you pass and to touch your hand

Ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh, Misirlou!

Now that I’ve seen you,
My life is not the same!
Here in the lonely morning I call your name.

Devil's Anvil

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Saroyan Sings Cairo

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Harry Saroyan
CD Title: Saroyan Sings Cairo

 

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Related Articles

 

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About the Spanish Lyrics in Harry Saroyan's Version

Aziza al-Shuruq assisted with transcribing and translating the Spanish-language lyrics that Harry Saroyan included in his version of the song. Aziza al-Shuruq

 

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