After the HBO series The Last of Us used Linda Ronstadt‘s 1970 hit “Long, Long Time” in its third episode Sunday night, streams of the track jumped by 4,900%. While Ronstadt hasn’t seen the episode, she’s happy about the renewed interest in the song — even though she won’t make any money from it.
That’s because, as Billboard notes, “Long, Long Time” was written by Gary White and in 2021, Linda sold the rights to the royalties from her master recordings to legendary music manager Irving Azoff‘s Iconic Artists Group. Consequently, they’ll get the money, not Linda.
“I still love the song and I’m very glad that Gary will get a windfall,” she tells Billboard via email. In fact, she only found out that the song was in the episode when her manager told her, and he only knew about it because a friend told him about it. “I don’t follow social media or streaming services very closely,” Ronstadt notes.
Linda’s manager, John Boylan, tells Billboard that she’s not “unhappy” about missing out on the cash, noting that it’ll help draw attention to the singer’s upcoming projects, including a biopic. Linda doesn’t perform anymore due to a brain disorder that resembles Parkinson’s disease.
She tells Billboard that she first heard “Long, Long Time” in 1969, when White performed it for her after a show in New York City. “I immediately wanted to record it,” she says. “It wasn’t a country song, wasn’t a folk song, or a rock song, but I thought it was a really good song.”
In The Last of Us, the song is used several times, both the original and a version performed by the episode’s characters. No spoilers, but let’s just say you should have a box of Kleenex handy when you watch it.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.