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Biography
Origin:
Tsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada
Decades:
1981-present

54•40 is a Canadian alternative rock group from Tsawwassen, British Columbia.

The band takes their name from the slogan "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!", coined to express the expansionist agenda of James K. Polk's presidency, intent upon controlling a contested U.S.-Canada border area in the Oregon boundary dispute. The group formed in 1981 as a trio consisting of Brad Merritt (bass), Ian Franey (drums), and Neil Osborne (vocals/guitar). In 1983, Phil Comparelli was added on guitar, trumpet and vocals, and Franey was replaced by Darryl Neudorf. Neudorf was replaced by drummer Matt Johnson in 1986. Nineteen years later, the band announced in March 2005 that Comparelli had officially passed on guitar duties to Dave Genn, formerly of Matthew Good Band. Musician Dave Osborne (keyboards, harmonica), toured and recorded with the band from 1987 to 1993.

The band's self-titled second album, released in 1986, began to attract attention from radio and record buyers across Canada, with the single "Baby Ran" gaining significant college radio airplay. The band's third album, Show Me, became their commercial breakthrough in Canada, with the hits "One Gun" and "One Day in Your Life".

Although the band were popular on college radio in the United States, they never had a commercial breakthrough — 1992's Dear Dear was their first album not to have a U.S. release. It was, however, their best-selling album in Canada up to that time, leading to a new U.S. contract for the follow up, Smilin' Buddha Cabaret, which had a significant hit in "Ocean Pearl".

The band's song "I Go Blind" was covered in the mid-1990s by American band Hootie & the Blowfish, and was featured on the first soundtrack to the TV series Friends. The song also appears on two compilations released by the band: 2000's Scattered, Smothered and Covered and 2003's The Best of Hootie & the Blowfish (1993 Thru 2003). Royalties from the Hootie and the Blowfish cover enabled the band to build their own recording studio in Vancouver.

In 2010, to celebrate the band's 30 years together and almost 25 years since their first commercial album "The Green Album", the band went on a promotional concert tour with a two set act. The first set was "The Green Album" from start to finish. The second set was one song from every album since, with the exception of Dear Dear where they played two songs. 54-40 also performed a new song from their upcoming record, "Lost In The City" which is set to be released on June 14, 2011. The Green tour was during the first few months of 2010.

On April 6, 2011, 54-40 played a free concert in celebration of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada's 125th Birthday celebration.