Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Long, Long Time’ Streams and Sales Both Skyrocket Following ‘Last of Us’ Appearance
The heartbreaking 1970 ballad is featured multiple times in the HBO series' acclaimed third episode.
Though it’s only January, the third episode of HBO’s post-apocalyptic survival series The Last of Us is already certain to end 2023 as one of the most acclaimed TV episodes of the year. The tearjerking episode, which focused on a decades-spanning love story between two new characters, has been rapturously received in nearly all corners of the media and the internet — and has also led to another streaming success story, this time for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Linda Ronstadt.
Ronstadt’s devastating ballad “Long, Long Time,” which served as her breakout solo hit on the Billboard Hot 100 when it reached No. 25 in Oct. 1970, is showcased multiple times in the episode. It appears first in renditions by actors Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman, when they find the sheet music with an old piano owned by Offerman’s character, then as Ronstadt’s original version at the end of the episode, when the show’s main characters (played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) find a cassette with the song in a car formerly belonging to Offerman’s character.
Unsurprisingly, the success of the show (and of the episode in particular, also titled “Long, Long Time”) has led to the song taking off in both streaming and sales. From Jan. 28 (the day before the episode) to Jan. 30 (the day after), the song jumped from under 8,000 daily official on-demand U.S. streams to nearly 149,000, and from a negligible number of daily sales to over 1,500 — spikes of 1,776% and 13,782%, respectively, according to Luminate. It’s still a ways from re-charting on the Hot 100, but with its sales and streams still looking to be rising days after the episode’s premiere, it should be in contention for debuts on a couple of Billboard charts next week.
It’s not the first time The Last of Us has resulted in big gains for an older track: After Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” was featured as an ominous radio transmission at the end of the show’s first episode, the song rose 220.5% in daily streams. With “Long, Long Time” now experiencing even greater gains, it seems that The Last of Us is gonna be the show to watch for 2023 when it comes to generating high-profile synch moments with lucrative payoffs for the artists (or writers) involved.