Long, Long Time in TV shows and movies: every time the Linda Ronstadt song has been used

Linda Ronstadt on her album Simple Dreams
Linda Ronstadt (Image credit: Records/Alamy Stock Photo)

Much like Kate Bush in 2022, Linda Ronstadt is enjoying a moment in 2023 with her song "Long, Long Time" being included in a TV episode. For Bush, her song "Running Up That Hill" in Stranger Things season 4 helped make the 1985 tune the song of summer 2022. Now, Ronstadt is enjoying some similar success after "Long, Long Time" was featured in HBO's The Last of Us.

Spotify News tweeted on Monday, January 30, that streams of "Long, Long Time" increased more than 4900% between 11 pm and midnight ET in the US on Sunday, January 29; the show airs on HBO and HBO Max starting at 9 pm ET/PT.

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The song was first released by Ronstandt in 1970 as part of her second album, Silk Purse. The song was her first to appear on the Billboard Top 100 chart, remaining on the chart for 12 weeks and reaching as high as No. 25.

While it enjoys its moment in the sun again, the song has previously been featured in some other TV shows and movies. So let's break down in what other titles you may have heard this Ronstadt classic before.

*WARNING: some The Last of Us spoilers ahead*

The Last of Us

Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett at a piano in The Last of Us

Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in The Last of Us (Image credit: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

What episode of The Last of Us is 'Long, Long Time' in? 

The Last of Us episode 3 is where we heard "Long, Long Time." To set the scene, Bill (Nick Offerman), a survivalist, has been living alone for years after the events that led to the cordyceps outbreak that turned so much of the population into zombies. One day, he finds Frank (Murray Bartlett) has fallen into one of his traps. Not infected, Frank convinces Bill to let him rest at his house.

After they have lunch, Frank spots Bill's piano and asks if he can play it. He finds a Linda Ronstadt songbook and selects to play "Long, Long Time." He struggles with it, at which point Bill jumps in and plays it beautifully. This eases the tension that both of them (though particularly Bill) have had and the two kiss.

The rest of the episode, fittingly titled "Long, Long Time," chronicles the years they spend together before taking their own lives rather than be faced with the prospect of not being together.

The song is played again at the end of the episode, as Joel and Ellie (who get to Bill and Frank's after they die) drive away. The scene then cuts back to the house, and the open window to the bedroom where Bill and Frank passed away.

You can stream all episodes of The Last of Us on HBO Max in the US, and NOW in the UK.

Hot Summer Nights

Maika Monroe and Timothee Chalament look into each other's eyes in Hot Summer Nights

Maika Monroe and Timothee Chalament in Hot Summer Nights  (Image credit: A24)

Another recent offering featured the Linda Ronstadt song, 2018's Hot Summer Night. The movie stars Timothée Chalamet as a teenage boy who comes of age during a summer in Cape Cod where he gets rich selling pot to gangsters, parties and falls in love for the first time.

The movie was not widely seen at the time of its release, but you can watch it right now on HBO Max in the US and on Amazon Freevee in the UK.

The Rockford Files

James Garner on the phone in The Rockford Files

James Garner in The Rockford Files (Image credit: NBC/Cinematic Collection/Alamy Stock Photo)

What episode of The Rockford Files is 'Long, Long Time' in? 

Going in the way back machine, "Long, Long Time" was featured in The Rockford Files season 1 episode 22, "Roundabout," in 1975. The song is sung by the character Nancy Wade (Jesse Welles), a lounge singer that Rockford (James Garner) is looking for. Nancy is singing the song at her piano when Rockford finds her.

You can watch The Rockford Files for free on The Roku Channel or Amazon Freevee in the US; it is not currently available to watch online in the UK.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).