Attributed to Greek-American jazz musician Nick Roubanis who released a version in 1941, but actually emanating at least 50 years or more before, in Egypt or Asia Minor, and meaning Egyptian woman, the best known version of this tune is Dick Dale's surf rock recording of 1962, which gathered far greater exposure from the 1994 Pulp Fiction soundtrack. But here are some contrasting versions, including the first recording by rebetiko musician, Tetos Demetriades, in 1927:
Woody Herman and his Orchestra did a version in 1941, with English lyrics written by Russell, Wise and Leeds:
American pianist and xylophonist Jan August also recorded a piano instrumental version in 1947 which became a big hit:
In the 1950s Martin Denny did an easy listening orchestral version, but it was perhaps made far more noteworthy and exciting when accompanied by in Fritz Lang's The Indian Tomb (1959) with Debra Paget's erotic snake dance:
In 1962 Dick Dale and the Del-Tones blew the socks of it with Fender Stratocaster and amps, inspiring many other artists to do their own versions, including one by the Beach Boys. Many bands have also sampled it, including a very commercial attempt by the Black Eyed Peas, but nothing beats Dale's blistering guitar sound:
By contrast, for something gentler, and closer to the original, here's an authentic take in 2013 by the group Rébertroïka:
And to hear that surf-style guitar first hand, with an extra flourish, it's certainly worth catching those contemporary kings of surf, the Bikini Beach Band doing their version, among many other clever covers:
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