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The Mysterious Shine of Twilight Pop Stars

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I have a cousin for whom there are no irrelevant music acts, just artists and bands most people don't pay attention to anymore.

Edwin McCain hasn't had a hit single since 1999's "I Could Not Ask For More" (which country singer Sara Evans made a hit of her own in 2001) and hasn't been signed to a major label since his 2001 release Far From Over . Yet my cousin still attends his shows regularly and speaks highly of the five original albums McCain has produced since.

My sister and I often joke about my cousin's penchant for these minor recordings by largely forgotten bands like Dishwalla and Better Than Ezra. But I'm starting to suspect my sibling and I are the freaks in this exchange.

John Fogerty is closing South By Southwest this year and, in May, is releasing Wrote a Song for Everyone -- a duets album featuring Foo Fighters, Jennifer Hudson, Kid Rock and My Morning Jacket helping him out on Creedence Clearwater Revival and solo songs. Yet the man released an album of new original songs as recently as 2007 and, by the end of 2013, will have released four albums within the last decade. Basically, if you stopped caring at "Centerfield" back in 1985, you've missed a whole lot of Fogerty -- which includes a collaboration with Bruce Springsteen on a cover of "When Will I Be Loved" on 2009's The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again .


Yet the world doesn't stop for the release of a John Fogerty album the way it does when Bruce Springsteen puts out a new album or when David Bowie's The Next Day -- his first album of new material in a decade -- becomes a cultural event and a reflection on the zeitgeist . That doesn't stop faded music stars' worlds from turning, though.

The discussion board of an A.V. Club story reviewing the documentary Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey about current Journey frontman Ariel Pineda recently lit up with a discussion about what happens to bands after their initial burst of fame. A commenter with the handle El Sabor Asiatico noted that Journey has produced four albums since their longest-tenured and most famous frontman Steve Perry left the band for health reasons in 1998. In fact, Steve Perry sound-alikes Pineda and Steve Augeri's 15-year tenure with Journey is more than twice as long as the span in the late-'70s and early '80s when Journey produced the overwhelming majority of its hits.

The same commenter notes that Lionel Richie has released seven albums since the last time he hit the upper reaches of Billboard charts with material from a 1992 compilation album. That compilation came a full six years after his peak with the hit-filled Dancin' on the Ceiling . His latest album, last year's country-flavored Tuskegee, hit the top of the Billboard album charts, went platinum and gave Richie some country cred with help from a Shania Twain duet of Endless Love and collaboration with acts like Little Big Town and Rasmus Seebach.