Unique man of Athens music scene, William ‘Ort’ Carlton, dies at 73

Athens native William Auten Carlton, with a photographic memory, has become a beloved fixture in the city’s music scene and its array of nightspots, even without any overt musical ability.January 21 died in He was 73 years old.

Carlton, known as “Ort”, died in hospice at St. Mary’s Hospital after a bout of illness, according to close friends.

News of Carlton’s death went viral on social media, reviving old photos and sharing memories of a man who had been socializing with vinyl records, cold beer and live bands since the 1970s.

“I was in high school and visiting Athens as a timpanist on the UGA music school program. Don Whittaker of Virginia wrote on Facebook, speaking about the situation many experienced during their chance meeting with Ort.

man and memory

Such was the case with those who were simply amazed at the man’s mental genius.

Kurt Wood of Athens, who met Carlton “over a box of records” as a UGA student in 1977, said he was basically Any place and zip code in the United States could be named.

Carlton amassed a collection of “tens of thousands of vinyl 45 records,” said Wood, a longtime friend of his. “I took it to heart. I have about 45,000 45 in my collection.”

Oat Carlton in 1980 photo taken in front of Chapter Three Records on College Avenue.

Carlton’s extroverted personality, his ability to associate zip codes with towns, his ability to provide call letters and frequencies for AM stations in the South, his ability to name small-town eateries and name beer brands across the country. , was extraordinary.

“When I meet him, I am overwhelmed at first. I have no idea what this person is saying,” recalls Chris McKay, an Athenian musician and professional photographer. “Then you get to know him even a little bit and he becomes like your best friend. It’s so weird.”

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