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A different kind of reboot: ‘The Last of Us’ gives 1970 Linda Ronstadt song a new audience

Bella Ramsey (left) and Anna Torv in "The Last of Us."Liane Hentscher/HBO

A little follow-up to “Long Long Time,” the 1970 Linda Ronstadt song that got a bump on last Sunday’s episode of “The Last of Us” on HBO. The episode was stunning, as it charted a rich relationship in the middle of the world-threatening pandemic, and the song, written by Gary White, was integral to the emotional story line.

After the episode, Spotify tweeted that there was a more than 4,900 percent increase in US streams of “Long Long Time” between 11 p.m. and midnight. It clearly moved a lot of viewers. Billboard caught up via e-mail with Ronstadt, who suffers from a Parkinson’s disease-like brain disorder, and asked her about the renewed interest in the song. She did not come into a big payday, she said, but White did: “I still love the song and I’m very glad that Gary will get a windfall.”


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

Linda RonstadtSam Sargent

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him @MatthewGilbert.