Who is Linda Ronstadt, the singer of the hit heard in “The Last of Us”?

Lby the love of The Last of Us turns to the epidemic in the United States. For its third episode, “Long Long Time”, broadcast on Sunday January 29 on HBO, the series adapted from the cult video game saw its live audiences climb again by 12% according to Nielsen data, to 6.4 million viewers. It is also an increase of 22% compared to the first segment of the soap opera and the clear indicator that the phenomenon is underway. Including replays, the channel claims more than 20 million cumulative viewings each week since January 15.

Additional proof of the general enthusiasm: like Stranger Things on Netflix, The Last of Us gives a second life to the old hits heard as part of its plot. After perking up listens to Depeche Mode’s “Never Let me Down” following its opening story in mid-January, the zombie epic has just converted many new buffs to a standard from ultra-popular artist Linda Ronstadt. in the United States in the 70s and 80s.

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Entitled “Long Long Time” (hence the title of this 3e episode), this song composed by Gary White is a moving romantic ballad about unconditional love and was a smash hit in 1970 – the singer’s first solo. In the 3e episode of The Last of Us, the track illustrates the love story between survivalist Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlet), a survivor of the fungal pandemic hosted by the latter, initially suspicious before lowering his defenses. Unfolding in the form of flashbacks from the beginning of the apocalypse until the present, the twenty-year relationship between the two men follows a particularly touching course until a heartbreaking finale summoning the song of the singer again. We discover at the same time in what circumstances the couple, based not far from Boston, became friends with Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv).

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Two hours after the episode aired on HBO, the Spotify platform published a victory-looking statistic on its Twitter account: between 11 p.m. and midnight (East Coast US time), streaming listens to “Long Long Time” jumped by… 4,900% (!) compared to the same slot the previous week.

Track from Linda Ronstadt’s second album (Silk Purse), “Long Long Time” had propelled itself in 1970 to the 25e place on the Billboard 100 chart, which he had occupied for twelve weeks. This first frank success of the singer had launched her career, marked by a staggering eclecticism.

Born in Tucson (Arizona) in 1946, Linda Ronstadt has distinguished herself through some forty albums (including fifteen compilations) in registers as diverse as country, folk, rock, jazz, pop, music Latin and even operetta. In 1980, the rock star will also touch the new wave via the disc Mad Love, including three songs written by Elvis Costello. Winner of 11 Grammy Awards, most often a performer, Ronstadt has collaborated with artists as diverse as Dolly Parton, Frank Zappa, Bette Midler, Neil Young, Paul Simon, the Rolling Stones, and even Johnny Cash. Between the 70s and 90s, no less than thirty-six of his albums slipped into the Billboard 100, including ten in the Top 10 and three in first place. Among his greatest successes: the album Trio, recorded in 1987 with country icons Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. In France, she is essentially adored by a base of fans – but not the least.

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Linda Ronstadt can sing anything, like Elvis Presley once did.Georges Lang, RTL.

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Legendary presenter of RTL Nocturnes for more than fifty years and absolute fan of Linda Ronstadt, Georges Lang remembers “Long Long Time”, bought across the Atlantic at the time and broadcast on his show: “Linda Ronstadt was at the start of her career, she had just arrived in Los Angeles from her native Arizona, she was still looking for herself a little and would do much more country things afterwards. It’s a song with indefinable charm, which we love to listen to again without really knowing why and which goes particularly well after midnight. Listeners loved it. A true superstar in the United States in the seventies, Ronstadt evolved his music into a more popular electric style in the middle of the decade and graced the covers of Time and of Rolling Stonewho declared her in 1978 “by far the most famous rock singer”.

According to Georges Lang, whose favorite Linda Ronstadt album remains Hasten Down The Wind (1976, notice to the curious), the artist was indeed an icon of rock and pop in America in the 80s, before refocusing on the music of his family roots – country, Mexican music, opera and crooner standards. “With her exceptional voice, she can sing everything, like Presley used to,” adds Georges Lang, who spoke on the phone a few weeks ago with the one who now lives in San Francisco. In forced retirement for several years because of a form of Parkinson’s disease, the singer, aged 76, would be “combative and optimistic” according to our interlocutor. In 2019, she was also the subject of a moving documentary on her career, The Sound of My Voice, by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, unpublished in France. There is no doubt that the new fans of Linda Ronstadt, since the broadcast of “Long Long Time” in The Last of Uswill be eager to savor the long list of his vast repertoire.

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