Speed Reads

running up that hill

Linda Ronstadt is already the Kate Bush of 2023 thanks to The Last of Us

The Last of Us fans may have a classic Linda Ronstadt song stuck in their heads for a long, long time. 

Ronstadt's "Long, Long Time" is enjoying a boost in popularity after being memorably used on HBO's The Last of Us. According to Spotify, the 1970 track received a more than 4,900 percent increase in streams in the U.S. between 11 p.m. and midnight Eastern on Sunday after the show aired. 

"Long, Long Time" was heard multiple times on the post-apocalyptic drama this week. The episode, which is titled after the song, depicts a love story between two new characters, played by Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett, over many years. In a key scene, the two characters both play "Long, Long Time" on the piano just before sharing their first kiss. 

The song later closes the episode, playing in a car during the final scene. "This is good, this is Linda Ronstadt," Joel (Pedro Pascal) says as "Long, Long Time" comes on before asking 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey), "Do you know who Linda Ronstadt is?" 

In an interview with Variety, The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin recalled selecting the song after searching for one that would "hit certain things about longing and aching and endlessly unrequited love."

The boost in popularity for "Long, Long Time" brings to mind when Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" climbed the charts in 2022 after being used in the fourth season of Stranger Things. Bush's song topped the Billboard Global 200 chart that summer almost 40 years after its original release. 

"I have to admit I feel really moved by it all," Bush said at the time. "Thank you so very much for making the song a No. 1 in such an unexpected way."