It was 23 years ago tonight (November 19th, 1995) that The Beatles Anthology premiered on ABC-TV. The three surviving Beatles, with the full cooperation of John Lennon's wife Yoko Ono, teamed up to produce the mini-series, which featured contemporary interviews with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, as well as archival interviews with Lennon.

The project actually began almost immediately after the group's breakup in the spring of 1970. The Beatles' late right-hand man, Neil Aspinall, began compiling raw footage for the documentary, which was originally going to be called The Long And Winding Road. The doc, which was always on the group's back burner, was even mentioned by Lennon during a 1980 deposition in a lawsuit against the producers of the Broadway musical Beatlemania. Lennon went on record at the time as saying that the group would eventually reunite to cap off the documentary.

Flash forward 25 years, to when the group's story was spread out over three nights, with the first night world premiering the first all-new Beatles song in over 25 years, called "Free As A Bird." The song was originally an unfinished home demo recording by Lennon from 1977. In 1994, at McCartney's request, Yoko Ono presented the former Beatles with a total of four Lennon demos. Along with "Free As A Bird," McCartney, Harrison, and Starr recorded another Lennon song called "Real Love."

Although the trio decided to pass on embellishing on the already released Lennon demo of "Grow Old With Me" -- there is a third unfinished Lennon track laying in the Beatles' vaults, featuring their aborted attempt to flesh out the late-'70s demo of "Now And Then" -- also known as "I Don't Want To Lose You."

For their digital "reunion," the group used Lennon's piano and lead vocal as the basis for the tracks to complete two "all new" Beatles songs. "Free As A Bird" was released as a single in November 1995 and reached Number Six. "Real Love" was released in February 1996 and peaked at Number 11.

In the recent documentary, Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne And ELO, the late-Tom Petty spoke about Lynne being offered the most coveted job in popular music: "Well, he wasn't there by accident. It's a pretty good compliment that the Beatles got back together and hired you to be the (laughs) producer. That's, y'know, I'm sure they could've gotten anyone they wanted."

AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY SAYS HE'S REALLY HAPPY WITH THE SUCCESS OF 'THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY' BOOK
AUDIO: STEPHEN BARD ON BEATLES REUNION SONGS
AUDIO: JEFF LYNNE ON THE BEATLES' 'NOW AND THEN'
AUDIO: PETE BEST ON BEING SIDELINED IN THE BEATLES' 'ANTHOLOGY'
AUDIO: THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY JOHN LENNON ON THE BEATLES' SPLIT
AUDIO: STEPHEN BARD ON GEORGE HARRISON AND PAUL MCCARTNEY
AUDIO: STEPHEN BARD ON 'FREE AS A BIRD'
AUDIO: PAUL MCCARTNEY ON LENNON DEMOS
AUDIO: JEFF LYNNE ON 'FREE AS A BIRD'
AUDIO: JEFF LYNNE ON HANGING OUT WITH THE BEATLES
AUDIO: TOM PETTY ON JEFF LYNNE PRODUCING THE BEATLES