LOS ANGELES -- 'We Are the World,' recorded by 45 American superstars to aid starving Africans, rose to No. 2 in the weekly Billboard magazine survey of record sales and air play in its third week of release.
There had been speculation that the 7-minute song by the non-profit USA for Africa group would take the No. 1 position this week, a feat that has not been accomplished for 15 years.
The song has already raised millions of dollars, but the exact amount has yet to be tallied. Three million singles, at about $2 each, were initially shipped and record stores said they were sold out.
A special 12-inch disc of the single was released last week and an album will be released April 1.
The performers include Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis, Kim Carnes, Dionne Warwick, James Ingram and Willie Nelson.
Michael Jackson, who wrote the song with Lionel Richie, describes the anthem as 'a love song to inspire concern about a faraway place close to home.'
A spokeswoman at CBS Records, which is distributing the single, said 'We Are The World' is selling out 'in seconds,' and several Los Angeles-area radio stations are calling the song one of the fastest-moving singles in history.
The artists who recorded the song during an all-night session following this year's American Music Awards ceremony hope to raise $200 million for African relief organizations.
Band Aid, a similar charity group featuring British superstars, raised $10 million for Ethiopia with the recording 'Do They Know It's Christmas?'