The Last of Us: Linda Ronstadt Reacts to ‘Long Time’ Streaming Peak

“It wasn’t a country song, it wasn’t a folk song or a rock song,” Ronstadt said of the genre-defying ballad, “but I think it’s a very good song.”

It’s been a long, long time since Linda Ronstadt sold the rights to her streaming catalog.

The singer responded to the viral series on HBO’s “The Last of Us,” featuring her 1970 ballad “Long Long Time.” The song jumped 4,900 percent Spotify Within an hour of the Jan. 29 episode airing, it rose to 149,000 percent the next day. The song appears on three separate occasions in the episode, including actors Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett performing the track on piano. “Long Long Time” is also the title of the episode.

“I don’t follow social media or streaming services very closely,” Ronstadt said Notice board, citing that he never owned the master of “Long Long Time” written by Gary White. “I still love the song and I’m really happy that Gary is going to get an unexpected surprise.”

Ronstadt recalled, “I met Gary through guitarist David Bromberg, who took me to Café Au Go Go in Greenwich Village to see Gary perform with the late singer-songwriter Paul Siebel. After the show, Gary played Long Long Time for me and I wanted to record it immediately. It wasn’t a country song, it wasn’t a folk song or a rock song, but I thought it was a very good song.”

In March 2021, Ronstadt sold his musical assets, including royalties from his master recordings and ownership of certain masters, to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artist Group.

Ronstadt’s manager John Boylan added: “He’s not unhappy about it, believe me. We sold your catalog. The last four or five years have been a complete tsunami of acquisitions like this.”

The episode’s writer-director Craig Mazin told IndieWire that he wanted to build Episode 3 around a pivotal musical motif: “I thought it would happen, that there would be a song that would be played and we’d be surprised who who was good and who was bad in it. I remember saying to Neil, ‘I don’t know what this song is, I just know it’s got to be this incredibly sad song about longing for love and how we never get love and you just accept that it’s always going to be alone. But it can’t be on the nose. And it can’t be a song that we all know.’”

Mazin got help from a trusted source to figure out which song they should use: “I went through hours and hours and hours. And finally I said, “I know what I have to do. I’m going to text my friend Seth Rudetsky, who’s a Sirius XM host on Broadway and has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things music,” Mazin said. “I wrote down what I needed and within 30 seconds it was (incoming text noise): ‘Long, long time by Linda Ronstadt.’ I kind of remembered that song. I was playing with it and I said, Oh honey. There is.'”

Ronstadt is behind an upcoming biopic with James Keach, who produced the 2019 documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.

“Long Long Time” isn’t the first throwback song from a viral streaming series. Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ has taken streaming sites by storm after the song was featured in a key ‘Stranger Things’ scene in 2022.

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