54-40 (band)

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Fifty-Four Forty.jpg
Dave Genn, Neil Osborne and Brad Merritt at the Vancouver ShoreFest in 2009
Background information
OriginTsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada
GenresRock, alternative rock
Years active1981 (1981)–present
LabelsReprise, True North
Past members

54-40 is a Canadian alternative rock group from Tsawwassen, British Columbia. The band take their name from the slogan "54-40 or Fight!", coined to express the unsuccessful expansionist agenda of James K. Polk's presidency, intent upon controlling a contested U.S.-Canada border area in the Oregon boundary dispute.


Neil Osborne and Brad Merritt met each other at South Delta High School in Tsawassen, British Columbia in 1978. After studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Osborne returned home and formed the band 54-40 with Merritt and drummer Ian Franey. The band played their first gig in 1981 opening for D.O.A. at the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret in Vancouver. That same year, they made their first recordings for the Mo-Da-Mu label, with four tracks appearing on the independent compilation LP Things Are Still Coming Ashore, which also featured music by Vancouver bands Animal Slaves and Junco Run. In June 1982, the band released the EP Selection. Shortly after the release of Selection, Franey left the band. Franey was replaced by Darryl Neudorf and Phil Comparelli was added on guitar, trumpet and vocals. The band recorded the album Set the Fire in 1983, releasing it in 1984. In 1985, Neudorf became frustrated from the band's prolonged time in the studio and away from the road and left the band. He was replaced by Matt Johnson in 1986.

The band's self-titled second album, released in 1986 through Warner/Reprise Records, began to attract attention from radio and record buyers across Canada, with the singles "Baby Ran" and "I Go Blind" gaining significant college radio airplay. Musician Dave Osborne (keyboards, harmonica), toured and recorded with the band from 1987 to 1993. The band's third album, Show Me, became their commercial breakthrough in Canada, with the hits "One Day in Your Life" and "One Gun".

Although the band was popular on college radio in the United States, they never had a commercial breakthrough, and Warner dropped 54-40 after the release of the compilation album, Sweeter Things. The band signed a long-term deal with Sony and released Dear Dear in 1992. It was the band's first album to be certified Gold in Canada and was certified Platinum in 1993. The band released Smilin' Buddha Cabaret in 1994 and Trusted by Millions in 1996, both which would also later be certified Platinum.

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.

Dave Genn, formerly of Matthew Good Band, joined 54-40 in 2003. In February 2005, it was announced that Comparelli left the band due to personal reasons.[1] That same year, 54-40 signed with True North Records.

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 was released on June 14, 2011. The Green tour was during the first few months of 2010.[2]

In late 2015, the band announced they would be releasing a greatest hits album titled "La Difference: A History Unplugged". The new effort is said to feature ten of their biggest hits such as "One Day In Your Life", "I Go Blind", "Ocean Pearl" and many more. The album was released on January 8, 2016, through eOne Music with a month-long theater tour across Canada, which commenced January 14, 2016.



  • Brad Merrit – bass (1981–present)
  • Neil Osbourne – vocals, guitar (1981–present)
  • Matt Johnson – drums (1986–present)
  • Dave Genn – guitar (2003–present)


  • Ian Franey – drums (1981–1983)
  • Phil Comparelli – guitar, vocals, trumpet (1983–2005)
  • Darryl Neudorf – drums (1983–1986)




Year Title Chart positions
1982 Selection


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
1984 Set the Fire
1986 54-40 91
1987 Show Me 66
1989 Fight for Love 36
1992 Dear Dear 22 Platinum
1994 Smilin' Buddha Cabaret 47 Platinum
1996 Trusted by Millions 28 Platinum
1998 Since When 18 Gold
2000 Casual Viewin' 24
2003 Goodbye Flatland
2005 Yes to Everything
2008 Northern Soul
2011 Lost in the City
2018 Keep on Walking


Year Title Peak Chart Position Album

CAN Content (Cancon)
1984 "Set the Fire" Set the Fire
"What To Do Now"
"Broken Pieces"
1986 "Baby Ran" 54-40
"I Go Blind"
1987 "One Day in Your Life" 90 Show Me
"One Gun"
"Walk In Line"
1989 "Fight for Love" Fight for Love
"Miss You"
"Baby, Have Some Faith" 1
1992 "Nice to Luv You" 30 4 Dear Dear
"She La" 38
"Music Man" 40 5
1993 "You Don't Get Away (That Easy)" 52 7
1994 "Blame Your Parents" 13 Smilin' Buddha Cabaret
"Assoholic" 56
"Ocean Pearl" 22
1995 "Radio Luv Song"
1996 "Love You All" 20 7 Trusted by Millions
"Lies to Me" 19 5
"Crossing a Canyon" 30
1997 "I Love Candy" 61
1998 "Since When" 11 2 Since When
"Lost and Lazy" 87 8
2000 "Casual Viewin'" 48 3 Casual Viewin
2001 "Blue Sky"
2002 "Love Rush" Radio Love Songs: The Singles Collection
"Plenty Emotion"
2003 "Animal in Pain" Goodbye Flatland
"Take Me Out"
"Wish I Knew"
2005 "Easy to Love" Yes to Everything
"Golden Sun"
2008 "Snap" 47 Northern Soul
2011 "Lost In The City" Lost In The City
2014 "The Waiting" Keep on Walking
2017 "Keep On Walking"
"Sucker For Your Love"

"How's Your Day Going?- Keep On Walking (2018)

"Northern Soul"- Northern Soul (2008)


Year Title Chart positions
1999 Heavy Mellow


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
1981 Things Are Still Coming Ashore - -
1991 Sweeter Things: A Compilation 39 Platinum
1997 Sound of Truth: The Independent Collection - -
2001 Casual Viewin' USA - -
2002 Radio Love Songs: The Singles Collection 48 -
2005 The Essentials - -
2016 LA Difference: A History Unplugged - -



  1. ^ "54-40 Guitarist To Be Replaced By Former Matthew Good Ax-Man". Chart Attack. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  2. ^ http://5440.com/index.php?view=article&catid=1:latest-news&id=71:5440-celebrates-30th-anniversary-by-going-qgreenq-again&tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=
  3. ^ Peak positions for 54-40's albums in Canada:
  4. ^ a b "Gold/Platinum". Music Canada. Retrieved 2011-07-09.
  5. ^ Peak positions for 54-40's singles on Singles Chart:
  6. ^ Peak positions for 54-40's singles on Rock/Alternative Chart:
  7. ^ Peak positions for 54-40's singles on Canadian Content Chart:
  8. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 55, No. 3, December 21, 1991". RPM. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2010-09-29.

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