Songwriter's Corner|

Photo: Linda Ronstadt | By Scottie Andrew, CNN | Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time” appeared not once but three times in [Jan. 29th’s] episode of “The Last of Us.” And fans of HBO’s newest hit were clearly moved by Ronstadt’s song, as streams of her ballad have ballooned since the episode premiered.

Between 11 p.m. ET and midnight on Sunday, Spotify streams of “Long, Long Time” increased 4,900% compared to the week prior, the platform reported this week. CNN has reached out to Spotify to confirm the number of streams before and after “The Last of Us” aired. In the meantime, the song is already appearing in TikToks from weepy viewers who loved the episode.

The song was performed by actors Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman in a pivotal sequence in the third episode of “The Last of Us” in which their characters meet by chance, take turns playing Ronstadt’s song at very different tempos on an antique piano and share a kiss (and, eventually, almost 20 years of their lives). The episode closes with Ronstadt’s rendition of the song played on a cassette tape.

“I knew that song needed to hit certain things about longing and aching and endlessly unrequited love,” series co-creator Craig Mazin told Variety.

Ronstadt released “Long, Long Time” in 1970 as a single from her second album, “Silk Purse.” It charted for 12 weeks, peaking at number 25, per Billboard. It was her first single to appear on a Billboard chart.

The renewed interest in Ronstadt’s ballad is drawing comparisons to the overwhelming wave of popularity “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” received when the Kate Bush power ballad was featured in several episodes of “Stranger Things” last year. . .
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So far, few of the recent old-songs-turned-new-hits have reached the same heights as Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” did last year, but “The Last of Us” shows that its success was not anomalous.

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