Rock legend Bruce Springsteen described his seminal album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, as a shift into adulthood for a small-town musician who wanted to be heard.

Interviewed by actor Edward Norton at the Toronto International Film Festival, Springsteen said he worked round the clock with his E Street Band to achieve perfection for the 1978 album.

The singer, who turns 61 next week, was in Toronto to mark the release of Thom Zimny's documentary The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, which had its world premiere at the festival on Tuesday. Dubbed The Boss by his fans, Springsteen arrived on stage to a rousing standing ovation.

The documentary focuses on the writing and recording sessions prior to the release of album in 1978 and will be aired on TV channel HBO on October 7.

Springsteen ended up writing 70 songs during the process and took only the 10 best.

Speaking about the desire to be heard at that point of life, he said there was something in that hardness of it, that young naked desire. There was desperation to feel important.

Springsteen called Darkness an angry record, one meant to honor his parents and their struggles, but also one that was influenced by some dark films of the time, including Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Taxi Driver. The film intersperses footage shot between 1976 and 1978, including home rehearsals and studio sessions, with current interviews about his self-imposed studio exile for years following a legal battle.

Springsteen was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. He also got an Oscar in 1994 for his song Streets of Philadelphia from the film Philadelphia.