The famous tune of the Popeye the Sailorman cartoon is based on the "Sailor's Hornpipe".
It was originally titled the "College Hornpipe" and became known as the "Sailor's Hornpipe" through its association with the performance of the hornpipe dance, typically performed on the stage in nautical costume.
Most likely originating in England, "Sailor's Hornpipe" was imported to North America where it entered traditional repertoire and became fairly widely known, still with its nautical connotations--so strong was the association, in fact, that it was selected as the theme song of a popular mid-20th century animated cartoon character, Popeye the Sailorman.
One of the earliest printings of the tune appears on page 13 in a volume entitled "Compleat Tutor for the German Flute", published by Jonathan Fentum, London, c. 1766
In America it was published somewhere at the end of the 18th Century in the music manuscript copybook of Henry Livingston, Jr. (as "Colledge Hornpipe", set for the German flute).
In 1786 it was published on page 12 of Henry Beck’s Flute Book
John Philip Sousa's "Jack Tar March", written in 1903, features "The Sailor's Hornpipe" tune in one of its segments.
In 1903 Sousa had recorded 3 takes that were released on Victor 2419
In 1903 "Jack Tar" was also recorded by the Edison Grand Concert Band,
Released on Edison Gold Moulded Record: 8524
Listen here: http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/mp3s/2000/2692/cusb-cyl2692d.mp3
Somewhere between 1903 and 1905 a Columbia Band recorded a version, that was released on a Standard Disc Record # 1587
Listen here ("Sailor's Hornpipe" is at 1 min and 32 sec in the YT below)
On October 26, 1905 Sousa's Band recorded a version for the Victor-label
Listen here ("Sailor's Hornpipe" is at 1 min and 19 sec and again at 2 min and 5 sec)
Somewhere between 1901-1907 Lord Lyndoch recorded a version of "The sailor's Hornpipe"
Listen here: (the "Popeye" part starts at 1 min and 15 sec on the soundfile of the next link)
The tune is also one of the movements ("Jack's The Lad") in Sir Henry Wood's "Fantasia on British Sea Songs", a medley of British sea songs arranged by Sir Henry Wood in 1905 to mark the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. For many years it was seen as an indispensable item at the BBC's Last Night of the Proms concert.
In 1906 Leopold Moeslein recorded "Sailor's Hornpipe" for Edison
Released June 1906 on Edison Gold Moulded Record # 9293
Edison release Leopold Moeslein
Listen here: http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/mp3s/3000/3076/cusb-cyl3076d.mp3
(c) Charles D'Almaine (1909) (as "Sailor's Hornpipe")
Released on Indestructible Record #1108
Listen here: http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/mp3s/3000/3992/cusb-cyl3992d.mp3
In 1921 Francis Quinn recorded a similarly titled "Sailor's Hornpipe", which has another tune
(c) Jasper Bisbee (1921) (as "College Hornpipe")
Recorded November 24, 1923
Released on Edison 51382
(c) John Baltzell (1927) (as "Sailor's Hornpipe")
Recorded March 1927 in New York
Released on Banner 2159, Oriole 945, Paramount 3017, Broadway 8051, Regal 8392, Domino 0195
In 1928 the song Barnacle Bill the Sailor also contained a fragment of the "Sailor's Hornpipe".
Here´s Frank Luther's 1928 version ("Sailor's Hornpipe" is at 55 sec)
In the first Fleischer Popeye cartoon, Popeye the Sailor (1933), "The Sailor's Hornpipe" tune was used in the cartoon's theme. And "Barnacle Bill" was used as the recurring theme for the Bluto character.
A later Fleischer Popeye cartoon, "Beware of Barnacle Bill" (1935), is a mock operetta based around a toned-down version of the song "Barnacle Bill The Sailor".
From then on the "Sailor's Hornpipe" tune was played in all of the Popeye cartoons, usually as the first part of the opening credits theme, which then segued into an instrumental of "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man".
In 1933 Groucho Marx does the traditional dance to this number at one point, as part of the opening number in the film, Duck Soup.
(c) The Tornados (1962) (as "Pop'eye twist")
the B-side of their very first 45.
(c) Spotnicks (1963) (as "Sailor's Hornpipe (Bach Goes To Sea)")
(c) Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys (1963)
Recorded March 20, 1963 in Nashville
released in 1965 on the album "Bluegrass Instrumentals"
(c) Mike Oldfield (1973) (as "Sailor' s Hornpipe")
The Sailor's Hornpipe is the finale of part two of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. Most likely Mike Oldfield followed Henry Wood's 1905 "Jack's The Lad" version.