Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time” Sees 4,900% Boost In Streams After Appearing In Episode 3 Of ‘The Last of Us’

“Long, Long Time” saw a 4,900% boost in streams after the tune appeared in episode 3 of The Last Of Us.


Melinda Lorge


Posted on January 31, 2023

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The Last Of Us; Photo Courtesy of Liane Hentscher/HBO

In 2022, Kate Bush’s 1985 classic “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” from her album, Hounds of Love, rose out of the ashes and received a head-spinning resurgence on the charts. But none of that would’ve likely happened had it not been for its inclusion in the Netflix sci-fi drama, Stranger Things. The song played an integral part in the show’s Season 4, becoming a life-saving device for Sadie Sink’s character, Max Mayfield.

After a new generation of music listeners was introduced to the song through the popular TV series, Bush began experiencing the kind of success she never could’ve imagined. The re-introduction of the song produced Bush her first Top 10 hit, reached No. 1 in the U.K. and Australia, and became the 12th most consumed song of 2022 – all that nearly 40 years after its initial release.

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“I salute the Duffer Brothers for their courage and taking this new series into a much more adult and darker place. I want to thank them so much for bringing the song into so many people’s lives,” the U.K. pop icon, who serves as the songwriter, composer, singer, performer, and producer of the track, said in a statement on her official website. “I’m overwhelmed by the scale of affection and support the song is receiving and it’s all happening really fast…. I have to admit I feel really moved by it all. Thank you so very much for making the song a No. 1 in such an unexpected way.”

Now it appears as though Linda Ronstadt may enjoy a similar success to Bush with her decades-old song “Long, Long Time” from her sophomore album, Silk Purse. The 1970s track is having a music moment thanks to the HBO drama series, The Last of Us.

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According to, the haunting ballad was featured during the show’s third episode in a pivotal moment between characters Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), who form a relationship as post-apocalyptic survivors.

The use of “Long, Long Time” begins as Frank stumbles upon Ronstadt’s sheet music beside an antique piano. But, it’s Bill who ends up playing a touching rendition of the song. The song returns later in the episode with characters Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey), too.

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The inclusion of “Long, Long Time” – which spent 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 and earned Ronstadt a Grammy nomination – only elevated the emotion of the episode, paving the way for its success afterward. Renewed interest in the track, led it to receive a 4,900% boost in streams on Spotify, according to the streaming and media service provider.

Folks also took to social media to express their excitement for the reawakening of the Ronstadt song.

“Deeply happy to see a whole new bunch of people discovering the majestic brilliance of Linda Ronstadt,” one person tweeted.

“Is this Linda Ronstadt song gonna be like Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up that Hill’ and be played nonstop? Because I can’t cry every day #TheLastOfUs #LindaRonstadt,” another person added.

In a recent interview with, The Last of Us Co-creator Craig Mazin opened up about his struggle to find the right song for the third episode of the series.

“I remember saying to Neil, ‘I’m not sure what the song is, I just know that it has to be this incredibly sad song about yearning for love, and never getting love, and just making your peace with the fact that you will always be alone. But it can’t be on the nose. And it can’t be a song that we all know,” he recalled.

He continued, “I went through hours and hours and hours. And finally, I was like, ‘I know what to do. I’m going to text my friend Seth Rudetsky,’ who is a host on Sirius XM On Broadway and has this encyclopedic knowledge of all music. I described what I needed and within 30 seconds, it was [incoming text noise] ‘Long, Long Time by Linda Ronstadt…’ kinda remembered that song. I played it and was like, ‘Oh, my. There it is.’”

Whether or not “‘Long, Long Time” will receive the same treatment as “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” has yet to be seen. However, judging by the current buzz surrounding the song proves it stands the test of time. The Last of Us airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO, and episodes are available to stream on HBO Max.

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