TORONTO – Bruce Springsteen figures his first three albums, including the classic “Born to Run,” were a prequel to the rest of his career.

He really started to find a purposeful working life with his fourth record, 1978’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” the subject of a documentary that had its world premiere Tuesday night at the Toronto International Film Festival.

After the enormous success of “Born to Run” three years earlier, Springsteen had been kept out of the studio because of a legal dispute with his former manager. When he finally began recording again with the E Street Band, a deluge of songs poured out, stories of anguish and doubt in an America mired in hard times and disillusioned after the Vietnam War.

On a personal front, Springsteen was struggling to preserve a connection with his working-class New Jersey roots amid his own good fortune.

“I decided that the key to that was maintaining a sense of myself, understanding that a part of my life had been mutated by my success,” Springsteen said in a conversation with actor Edward Norton in front of a festival audience before “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town” premiered.

“There was a thrust of self-preservation more than anything else, more than a political conscience or a social conscience.”

Lt. Harry Wales celebrates birthday by working

LONDON – Prince Harry is 26 — and like many 20-somethings, he worked on his birthday Wednesday.

The redheaded Harry, known in the military as Lt. Harry Wales, is in training to become an Apache attack helicopter pilot in Britain’s Army Air Corps. He began an eight-month course in July and has repeatedly said he hopes to get back to the front lines in Afghanistan.

Harry served as a battlefield air controller in the country’s restive southern Helmand province during a secret 10-week tour in 2007 and 2008.

A spokeswoman in Harry’s office at St. James’ Palace said Wednesday the prince would be continuing his training on his birthday.

Harry is the younger son of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Grimm top ‘Talent,’ edging 10-year-old

LOS ANGELES – Bluesy crooner Michael Grimm has traded his fedora for the crown on “America’s Got Talent.”

The Waveland, Miss., native was revealed as the winner of the NBC variety competition on its season conclusion airing Wednesday. Viewers cast their votes after Tuesday’s show.

The 30-year-old Grimm beat a varied trio of rival acts. They included the runner-up, 10-year-old singing sensation Jackie Evancho of Pittsburgh. Other finalists were Prince Poppycock, the outlandishly costumed operatic creation of Los Angeles store clerk John Quale, and the performance troupe Fighting Gravity, a group of 13 fraternity brothers from Virginia Tech at Blacksburg, Va.

As winner, Grimm will headline a national tour and collect a $1 million prize.

Redford film premieres

TORONTO – Robert Redford’s Abraham Lincoln assassination drama “The Conspirator” has been picked up for theatrical distribution by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.

The two companies aim for a spring 2011 release for “The Conspirator,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The $20 million production directed by Redford was one of the biggest films to enter the festival without a distributor already in place.

“The Conspirator” stars Robin Wright as Mary Surratt, a boarding-house owner tried as an accomplice in the assassination by John Wilkes Booth.