I've always said that New Jersey is the mecca for great music. We boast having the most passionate fans and world class musicians, we take our music seriously. But did you know New Jersey also holds the record for the biggest paid music concert in the United States?

There have been much bigger concerts here in the U.S. but they were free concerts. No paid, ticketed concert was bigger than this concert, which happened on Sept. 3, 1977, when The Grateful Dead invaded Raceway Park in Englishtown and over 107,000 fans jammed highways, walkways and entrances to the big show.

Concert promoter John Sher was responsible for the concert. Sher was a concert promoter in Asbury Park bringing music acts to The Sunshine Inn.

The concert also included music from New Riders of the Purple Sage and The Marshall Tucker Band opened the day with their set. However, the concert almost didn't happen. The town of Manalapan, which borders Raceway Park by 200 feet, argued that the expected large crowds would be an infringement on their town. They lost the argument in court and failed to get a restraining order to stop the concert.

There were a few problems at the concert, which you would expect when you try to cram over 100,000 people into a venue on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, there were two deaths, a young man who choked to death and a girl who was killed in an auto accident.

Over 50 people were taken to Jersey Shore Hospital in Neptune. Afterward, it took over a week to clean up Raceway Park and the surrounding roadways.

All in all, the nine-hour concert was a success and attendees to the concert enjoyed the music. Music is such a big part of New Jersey history and over 40 years later this record still stands.

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