'The Last of Us' made Linda Ronstadt's 1970 song 'Long Long Time' a hit again
Everyone's talking about Linda Ronstadt's "Long Long Time" and for good reason.
Soulful and deeply moving, the song is making an epic comeback more than five decades after it first charted in the '70s thanks to the new HBO show, “The Last of Us."
The new series, based on the popular action-adventure video game by the same name, follows a handful of survivors as they navigate their way through a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a global fungus-driven pandemic.
Those left behind must battle against monsters, human and non-human, in order to stay alive.
The third episode of the show features a love story at the end of the world. Years after the cordyceps outbreak shatters society, survivalist Bill (Nick Offerman) reluctantly welcomes straggler Frank (Murray Bartlett) into his Massachusetts refuge. During their first afternoon together, each sweetly warble their way through the ballad.
The poignant episode, also titled "Long Long Time," follows the pair through time, chronicling their love story from past to present, before Ronstadt's song is played once more at the end.
Long, long time. pic.twitter.com/h1e92sLsBp
— The Last of Us (@TheLastofUsHBO) January 30, 2023
A track off Ronstadt's sophomore record, "Silk Purse," the song was released as a single in 1970 and spent 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at No.25.
After the third episode of "The Last of Us" premiered on Jan. 29, streams of "Long Long Time" shot up a whopping 4,900 percent according to Spotify.
Much like what "Stranger Things" did in resurrecting the 1985 Kate Bush song "Running Up That Hill," the HBO series brushed off a lost classic, returning it once again to the collective public ear.
And it's making people emotional.
"I laughed, I cried," said one social media user. "It will be one of the best episodes of television for 2023.
Another writes on Twitter, "I can't stop listening to Linda Ronstadt's Long Long Time. And I can't stop crying. So unexpected and so beautiful."
#TheLastofUs drops the best episode of TV you may see all year, telling a story that deeply affected us in a profound way because it showed us something we never even thought to want in a story like this. Us. Literally the 2 of us. This was a happy endinghttps://t.co/O2gp4iBBmh
— Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) January 30, 2023
In an interview with IndieWire, "The Last of Us" co-creator Craig Mazin says he was searching for a song to use in the episode, one that wasn't familiar but an "incredibly sad song about yearning for love."
After coming up empty-handed, Mazin tells IndieWire that he texted a friend with an "encyclopedic knowledge of all music," and within seconds he had "Long Long Time."
"I played it and was like, 'Oh, my. There it is.'"
Though the song hasn't returned to the charts for a second time just yet, Ronstadt has had 38 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 during her decades-long career.
Among them are 10 songs in the Top 10 and a No. 1 hit with her 1974 single "You're No Good."
Ronstadt sold the rights to her master recordings in 2021, and won't receive any of the earnings from the streaming boom. In an email statement to Billboard, she said she was "very glad" that songwriter Gary White would "get a windfall."
“I still love the song," she said.
Diagnosed with a rare brain disorder in 2013, Ronstadt, who's sold more than 100 million albums and won 11 Grammys, was left unable to sing.
In a sit-down interview with TODAY's Maria Shriver in 2022, Ronstadt said that she can "sing in (her) brain," but not aloud.
“Sometimes, I choose the song, and sometimes my brain chooses the song,” the 76-year-old told Shriver. "My brain chooses the worst music. It just blares away in my head, like really bad Christmas carols.”
Ronstadt talks about her rise to fame, career and the tragic loss of her voice in the 2019 documentary "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com