. . . a time comes when two people should think of

these things.

Having a home and a family

Facing up to their responsibilities.

--Bruce Springsteen's "I Wanna

Marry You," 1980.

Bruce Springsteen's wedding plans gave the rock 'n' roll world this week one of its hottest pieces of gossip since the "Paul Is Dead" rumors in the '60s. Only this time, the reports turned out to be true.

The uproar began Thursday when a Portland, Ore., radio station announced that the 35-year-old-Springsteen--who once said he couldn't picture ever getting married--would wed Julianne Phillips, a 25-year-old model and actress, in a Portland suburb, possibly that afternoon.

Almost immediately, female Springsteen fans began calling rock radio stations demanding to know, "Is there really going to be a Mrs. Boss? "

Most of the calls were good natured, but some were a tad hysterical.

By evening, the rock star's fans had their answer: Phillips' parents had confirmed in Portland that the wedding would take place, probably next week.

But what about Bruce's family?

"Yes, it's true," a member of Springsteen's immediate family confirmed Friday. Though she asked not to be identified, the relative added, "We're all thrilled. She's just a wonderful girl."

The couple apparently broke the news to friends over the weekend at a small dinner party Bruce gave for his mother, Adele, at a Los Angeles restaurant. The occasion celebrated both Adele's birthday, which was Saturday, and Julianne's, which was Monday. The ceremony is expected to take place in a Catholic church.

Neither Springsteen nor Phillips was available for comment Friday, but Springsteen's friends had known for weeks that the romance--which began when the couple met backstage during the rock star's appearances last October at the Los Angeles Sports Arena--was very serious. There had even been engagement rumors.

But what about Springsteen's suggestions a decade ago that marriage just "isn't for me?"

In a 1975 interview with the British pop publication Melody Maker, Springsteen suggested that all his energy was devoted to his work and that a family was simply out of the question. "I couldn't bring up kids," he said. "I couldn't handle it . . . . A kid--like you better be ready for them. I'm so far out of line that it would be disastrous. I just don't see why people get married. "

However, when I talked to him in January, Springsteen indicated a far different attitude about marriage and family. In his dressing room after a concert in Greensboro, N.C., he acknowledged that he sensed something missing in his life. A friend from one of Springsteen's early bands, Steel Mill, had joined him on stage that night, and Bruce mentioned how the friend had a wife and three children, and how much they meant to him.

Asked if he felt the need for a permanent relationship, Springsteen said: "Everybody feels (that need) all the time. I guess relationships have been (hard for me ) just because I've traveled for my whole adult life, and it was difficult to settle into something and make those types of sacrifices."

Then, he added: "(But) I think you can make anything happen. That's my approach. To blame something on your job is an excuse, no matter what it is. It can be difficult, no doubt about it. But in the end, you do what you want to do. That's what I basically believe. All the rest is excuses."

People who work with Springsteen also have noted how the rock star--for years a notorious loner--seemed to be opening up more in recent months.

"Everything about him tells me he's happier now than at any time since I met him (a decade ago)," a close friend said a few weeks ago.

Springsteen, who has a house in Los Angeles as well in his native New Jersey, just finished an Australian tour with his E Street Band and is due next month to begin a lengthy European series of dates. It may be known as the Honeymoon Tour because Phillips, who has appeared in a .38 Special video and two TV movies ("Summer Fantasy" and "His Mistress"), is expected to join him on the dates.

Added good news for Springsteen: Columbia Records has just announced that his "Born in the U.S.A." album is the biggest domestic seller in the label's history. Sales through April: 6.5 million.

LIVE ACTION: Tickets go on sale Monday for Robert Plant's June 17 show at the Forum, for Patti La Belle's June 7 date at the Greek, and for Grover Washington, Jr.'s July 24 appearance at Irvine Meadows. . . . Tickets will be available Sunday for these shows: Paul Young on June 12 at the Wiltern, and the Blasters-Beat Farmers-Unforgiven bill on June 22 at the Palladium. . . . Sisters of Mercy will be at the Palace on June 2. . . . Jerry Garcia and John Kahn will play an acoustic set on May 31 at the Beverly. . . . Link Wray has cancelled his appearance on next Saturday's Rank and File show at Fender's.

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