TORONTO - Winnipeg rock legend Randy Bachman says a run-in with some shady characters spawned one of the Guess Who's biggest hits.

At the "Juno Songwriters' Circle" concert Wednesday night, Bachman said he was on tour with the Guess Who in San Francisco in late '60s when three guys with "muscles and leather jackets" walked toward him "with a look" in their eyes.

As he crossed the street to avoid them, a car pulled up and one of the guys' girlfriends got out and read him the riot act for slacking off at home.

"And then she said: 'Furthermore, baby, when you get home you ain't gettin' no sugar tonight,"' Bachman recounted as he launched into "No Sugar Tonight" for a cheering audience that included opera star Measha Brueggergosman.

The anecdote was one of many shared by the artists at the Massey Hall show, hosted by country singer-songwriter Johnny Reid.

Other artists in the bill included Toronto-born singer-songwriter Dan Hill; Halifax-born folk-rock artist Luke Doucet; Ottawa-based talent Lynn Miles; Toronto pop balladeer Royal Wood; and country musician Sylvia Tyson, who is also president of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Each artist sat on a stool and performed at least two songs on a stage filled with dozens of flickering electric candles that created an intimate feel in the 2,700-seat theatre. They also discussed their musical and lyrical inspirations.

Hill strapped on a guitar and got on the baby grand piano to perform his hit "Sometimes When We Touch."

He said he wrote the tune at age 19 for an older woman who was not as enamoured with him as he was with her.

"I played this over the phone to her and she said ... 'I'm taking off with a football player and moving back to the States.' It was the first of many people, I'm sure, who moved out of the country because of this song," he joked.

Reid started the night by singing his hit "Doesn't Get Better Than You," which he said he wrote for his wife, with whom he has four children.

He also sang his rarely performed hit "Tell Me Margaret," which he said he wrote for his late grandmother, who "smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish and partied like a rock star."

Wood also performed at the piano and played the guitar for two tunes, including "Do You Recall?"

"I have to pinch myself, I'm at Massey Hall," he said.

Miles, who played guitar and harmonica for two tunes, said it was also her first time performing at the storied venue.

Doucet wowed the crowd and his fellow performers with his stellar guitar skills during his setlist, which included "Long Haul Driver." He said he wrote it in Nashville after a road tour that made him realize the life of a travelling musician is a lot like that of a truck driver.

Meanwhile, Tyson performed two tunes, which she dedicated to the girls and the boys she went to high school with.

The show was one of several Juno-related events taking place ahead of Sunday's 40th anniversary awards show, which will be broadcast from the Air Canada Centre on CTV at 8 p.m. ET.