The White Album–era song perhaps least influenced by the India excursion, McCartney's paean to Busby Berkeley's silver-screen dance numbers owes a debt to the music-hall standards so beloved by his father, Jim. He'd previously mined the genre for songs like "Good Day Sunshine," "Your Mother Should Know" and, most notably, "When I'm Sixty-Four," but "Honey Pie" finds him committing to the jazz age like never before. "I would quite like to have been a 1920's writer, 'cause I like that thing," he admitted in a 1968 interview with Radio Luxembourg. "You know, up in a top hat and tails and sort of coming on to 'em. So this kind of number, I like that. ... This is just me doing it, pretending I'm living in 1925."
Without the extended introduction that mimics a scratchy 78 platter, the Esher demo dives right into what became the second verse on the final recording. McCartney plays guitar while also overdubbing vocals, tambourine on the offbeat, and percussive slaps to the back of his acoustic six-string, and his bandmates join in with encouraging whoops in the background. The bridge has yet to be completed, leaving McCartney free to toss off some "dee da dee" syllables before launching into an exuberant scat solo.