Linda Ronstadt's 'Long Long Time' Soaring on Streaming After 'The Last of Us' Episode

Linda Ronstadt is having her Kate Bush moment after streams of her song "Long Long Time" have majorly spiked following Sunday's episode of HBO's The Last of Us

Linda Ronstadt
Photo: Ian Dickson/Shutterstock

Linda Ronstadt is having her Kate Bush moment after streams of her song "Long, Long Time" have majorly spiked after being featured in Sunday's installment of The Last of Us.

The 1979 tune played a pivotal part in the third episode of the HBO acclaimed series, which focused on the surprising love story between post-apocalyptic survivors Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett).

By Monday, streams of the rock icon's tune on Spotify had increased by 4900 percent. That's similar to how "Running Up That Hill," Bush's 1985 song, catapulted globally after being featured on season 4 of the Netflix hit Stranger Things last May.

"Long, Long Time" was featured twice in Sunday's episode, first in a scene where Bill sings and plays the tune on a piano after Frank discovers a Ronstadt songbook in his mother's piano bench.

Later, Ronstadt's version of the tune is played at the end of the episode, as Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) drive off in Bill's car.

In both instances, the song's lyrics help drive the message of the show, about the ever-driving power of love even during the worst times in life.

"Love will abide, takes things in stride / Sounds like good advice / but there's no one at my side," Ronstadt sings. "And time washes clean / love's wounds unseen / That's what someone told me but I don't know what it means."

"'Cause I've done everything I know to try and make you mine / And I think I'm gonna love you for a long long time."

The Last of Us director and executive producer Craig Mazin told Variety that his friend and SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky suggested the song when he was mulling over songs for his two characters to connect over.

"I knew that song needed to hit certain things about longing and aching and endlessly unrequited love," he told the outlet. "I could not find the right song for the life of me. I was trying and trying, and then I texted my friend Seth Rudetsky, who is the host of Sirius XM on Broadway and a savant. I told him, 'Here's all the things I need,' and two seconds later: 'Linda Ronstadt, "Long, Long Time."' I was like, there it is. That's it!"

"Long, Long Time" is featured on Ronstadt's Silk Purse album and was originally written by Gary White. In 1971, the song peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The rock icon received a Grammy nomination for the song that same year.

Tragically, Ronstadt hasn't been able to sing in over a decade. She was diagnosed in 2013 with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurological condition similar to Parkinson's disease that impacts her movements and cognition.

"I sing in my brain," she said on Today in 2022. "It's not quite the same. Sometimes I choose the song and sometimes my brain chooses the song. My brain chooses the worst music, like really bad Christmas music."

In 2019, Ronstadt spoke with PEOPLE about her health decline and the loss of her beautiful vocal instrument.

"It felt like something was wrong, but I couldn't tell what it was," she said, describing the initial symptoms. "First, I thought it was my headphone mix, then I thought it was the microphone, then I thought some frequencies were just missing from my voice. It got slowly, steadily worse."

The mother of two was initially told it was "nerves," before she was diagnosed by a neurologist.

Filled with sadness, Ronstadt adjusted slowly to the loss of her voice. In time, her mobility declined as well. "There's nothing I can do and I just learned how to live with it," she said.

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As for the mainstream rediscovery of "Long, Long Time," Ronstadt has yet to directly comment on its use in The Last of Us but has been re-posting shares of the song on her official Instagram account, including a post from the HBO show.

On Sunday, she even shared a vintage live performance video of her singing the song.

"I think I'm going to love you for a long long time," she wrote with a heart to her fans.

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