- Paul McCartney – vocal, piano
- John Lennon – lead guitar, rhythm guitar
- George Harrison – six-stringed bass
- Ringo Starr – drums
- George Martin – clarinet arrangement
- Harry Klein – clarinet
Both John and I had a great love for music hall I very much liked that old crooner style - the strange fruity voice that they used, so 'Honey Pie' was me writing one of them to an imaginary woman, across the ocean, on the silver screen, who was called Honey Pie. It's another of my fantasy songs. We put a sound on my voice to make it sound like a scratchy old record. So it's not a parody, it's a nod to the vaudeville tradition that I was raised on.
- Paul McCartney in Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now (1997).
Honey Pie is a song by Paul McCartney, written in the grand old style of the British music hall, where the audience sang together. He wrote it for The Beatles (the White Album), released in 1968.
The premise is an old lover from back home who is yearning for the return of his "Honey Pie," an English actress gone off to the US. The third line,
Now she´s hit the big time, is punctuated by scratches from an old 78 rpm phonograph record to give the song an "old-time" feel.
It's a good example of the wide diversity of musical styles found on The Beatles' White Album that somehow work together to create a homogenous feel on the album which is one of the amazing aspects of The Beatles White Album and why many fans regard it as their their best work.
Honey Pie was recorded at Trident Studios on October 1, 1968. One take (after several rehearsals, presumably) was all that was required. Lead vocals and lead guitar were added the following day. John Lennon played the guitar solo.
John played a brilliant solo on 'Honey Pie' - sounded like Django Reinhardt or something. It was one of them where you just close your eyes and happen to hit all the right notes... sounded like a little jazz solo.
- George Harrison, 1987
George Martin added an arrangement for a clarinets and saxophones.
An earlier version of Honey Pie, recorded at George's home, can be heard on Anthology 3.