2 versions of London Bye Ta Ta exist – the 1968 version, and the 1970 re-recording.
Both exist in slightly different mixes too. The song itself is truly a minor Bowie classic in my opinion. It is exciting and joyous sounding pop, with a light lyric about the subject wanting to get away from London, away from the contrary girl he loved.
An acetate was made of London Bye Ta Ta in March 1968, along with a song allegedly planned to be part of the centrepiece of a planned second Deram album, In the Heat of the Morning. This acetate recording of both songs was first bootlegged in the 1980s, on a red vinyl 7” single. It has been bootlegged on CD since, and was also finally featured in an inferior mix and inferior sound, and too slow too, on the David Bowie Deram album double CD set.
The first version of London Bye Ta Ta, on this single, sounded 100 times better than any CD incarnation so far. Heard properly from the acetate mix on the single, the bass pulses along, the guitars chime, the strings sweep, and the keyboards swirl…it has a vibrancy and energy that demands to be heard! “I loved her! I loved her! I’ve got to get away I know, but I loved her!” David cries in the chorus, his voice shrouded in echo. A lovely, fun tune, that deserves far more than to be tucked away in an inferior mix at the end of a bonus CD.
The acetate mix of In the Heat of the Morning is fine, but in all honesty this latter song – which stands equally high as an early classic in the Bowie catalogue – has never sounded better than when it was first issued on the World of David Bowie LP, in 1970.
There’s still time for the lack of this great single coupling in the official Bowie catalogue to be rectified, and for London Bye Ta Ta (1968) and In the Heat of the Morning to be given a much deserved official release in the above forms – they would make a great, great, double A-side single release in their own right.