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), Darryl Neudorf (drums), and Neil Osborne (vocals). In 1984, Phil Comparelli was added on guitar, trumpet and vocals, and Neudorf was replaced by Matt Johnson. After some serious personal affairs, 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 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 soundtrack to the TV series Friends. Royalties from the Hootie and the Blowfish cover enabled the band to build their own recording studio in Vancouver.
During their tour to promote 2005's Yes to Everything they were joined by Jets Overhead.