The song is a direct homage to the British music hall style. It concerns a famed actress, called only by the term of endearment "Honey Pie", who becomes famous in the United States (referred to as 'the U.S.A.' in the song), and her old lover, who wishes for her to rejoin him in England. The premise—a humble admirer yearning for the return of his lover—is not unlike a typical music hall plot. In order to establish an appropriate, old-timey sound, 'crackles' were added to the third line, "Now she's hit the big time!" from a 78 RPM record.
Recording began for "Honey Pie" on 1 October 1968, with the Beatles at Trident Studios in London's Wardour Street. Only one take was recorded on the first day, although it is likely that a number of rehearsal attempts had previously been recorded and wiped. The next day, McCartney taped his lead vocals, and a lead guitar part was added. According to George Harrison, John Lennon played the guitar solo.