Barry White was a sex symbol in sweaty satin: a colossal crooner who turned ladies' knees to jelly with his celebrated dulcet tones.
For those women who swooned at the sight of White dabbing his brow with a beach-towel-sized handkerchief, it was the voice. But it turns out it wasn't love, it was science.
"We know in this society that women have a preference for men who have a lower or a deeper voice pitch," said Coren Apicella, a student researcher at Harvard University, explaining that there have been polls and studies on the subject.
"What I wanted to do," added Apicella, "is see if there is any evolutionary significance to this preference."
So Apicella went to Tanzania to spend some time among the Hadza, nomadic hunter gatherers.
History of Deep Voice Attractions
"I gave them a microphone and I had them speak the word 'hujambo,' which is a Swahili word that loosely translates to 'hello' in English," she said. "Then I asked them about their reproductive history."
Of the 49 men Apicella spoke to, the man with the deepest voice had fathered 10 kids.
"Compare that to the man who has the highest pitched voice," she said, not naming any names. "He had fathered three children. … Men with lower pitched voices have greater reproductive success -- meaning they have more children."
But what makes the Hadza a good group to study this alleged link between deep voices and sexual attraction? Well, they don't use contraception, which means evidence of attraction is easier to quantify. If a guy has a lot of lovers, he'll also have a lot of kids.
Here in London, "Nightline" hit the streets with a CD player and played Barry White's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby," then "Staying Alive," by the Bee Gees to groups of women.
Deep Voices Make Better Spouses?
Barry won our unrepresentative, unscientific poll.
"I just like the sound of his voice. It's gruff," cooed one woman.
"Deep and sexy," said another.
"High sounds too babyish," one woman offered by way of an explanation. "You want a deep, manly voice."
Apicella said she can't explain why deep-voiced Hadza tribesmen have more children.
"Maybe they begin reproducing at an earlier age so they get some sort of head start," she suggested. "Maybe it's related to having higher testosterone levels, which in turn might make them good hunters and they're able to bring home more food to their wives and their families."
But one thing is for certain. The late great Barry White, who died in 2003 -- well, he had eight kids. You do the math.