Episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us gave us a heartbreaking song by 70s icon Linda Ronstadt but who is she? Let’s find out more about the singer and her musical legacy.

Warning: Spoilers for episode 3 of HBO’s The Last of Us

Just like thousands of other HBO The Last of Us viewers, our hearts are still in pieces after that masterclass in emotional storytelling found in episode 3. We witnessed the backstory to Bill that players of the game never got to discover but have been crying out to uncover. Now that we’ve seen it through blurry eyes, Bill and Frank’s heartwarming yet devastating journey will be one to remember for a long, long time.

So far, HBO has provided us with some stellar songs through The Last of Us series but none as sentimental as the song found in episode 3 which included Linda Ronstadt’s 1970 ballad “Long, Long Time,” and what Bill and Frank sang on the piano when they first meet. We take a look at who Linda Ronstadt is and explore her long musical empire.

Who is Linda Ronstadt?

Linda Maria Ronstadt was born in Tucson, Arizona, on July 15, 1946, making her 76 years old today. Raised on the family’s 10-acre ranch with her four other siblings, Linda’s early musical influence was singers such as Lola Beltrán, Édith Piaf, and Gilbert and Sullivan before going on to make a huge name for herself in the folk/rock genre of the 70s.

Her career launched in the mid-1960s in Los Angeles, where she and two friends formed the Stone Poneys. In 1978, Linda was titled as ‘the highest paid woman in rock’ with six platinum-certified albums, three of which were number 1 on the Billboard album chart, and pocketing herself a well-deserved $12 million.

With hit songs that include  “Heart Like a Wheel” (1974), “Prisoner in Disguise” (1975), “Hasten Down the Wind” (1976), “Simple Dreams (1977), “Living in the USA” (1978), and “Mad Love (1980). Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2011, Linda announced her retirement from the music business and later disclosed that she has progressive supranuclear palsy, a late-onset degenerative disease involving the gradual deterioration and death of specific volumes of the brain.

Linda is currently single but has been linked to other celebrities that include Jim Carrey, 15 years his senior, and George Lucas in 1983 after meeting her backstage at one of her concerts. She is also a devoted mother to her two adopted children, Carlos and Mary, that have been kept out of the spotlight.

Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time” song flies up by 4,900% on Spotify

Thanks to HBO’s The Last of Us, Ronstadt’s emotional song has given her a second run of success with newcomers to the songbird rushing to download the song after episode 3 which saw it rush up by 4,900% on the popular music platform.

Craig Mazin spoke to Variety on why this particular song of Ronstadt’s was chosen, “I knew that song needed to hit certain things about longing and aching and endlessly unrequited love,” Mazin said. “I could not find the right song for the life of me. I was trying and trying, and then I texted my friend Seth Rudetsky, who is the host of Sirius XM on Broadway and a savant. I told him, ‘Here’s all the things I need,’ and two seconds later: ‘Linda Ronstadt, “Long, Long Time.”’ I was like, there it is. That’s it!”

The Last of Us continues on Sunday, February 5th on HBO and HBO Max. For UK viewers episode 3 will be available from 2 am on Sky and NOWTV the following day. 

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