Li Tai-hsiang (Chinese: 李泰祥; pinyin: Li Taixiang; February 20, 1941 – January 2, 2014) was a Taiwanese Amis composer and folk songwriter. He was best known for penning a series of popular Mandarin-language pop and folk songs throughout the 1960s and 1970s at the height of the genres' popularity. He also composed many classical works.
One of his best known songs was the 1979 single, "The Olive Tree," which was performed by his protege, singer Chyi Yu. "The Olive Tree", which was based on an English-language poem by Sanmao, was originally written about a small donkey which Sanmao had encountered on a plain in Spain. Li Tai-hsiang had the poem translated to Mandarin by folk singer T.C. Yang, with Sanmao's permission, and wrote the song for Chyi Yu. He omitted with donkey, which he felt would not easily connect with Taiwanese music fans. Chyi Yu has stated in an interview that "Every time I sing this song [The Olive Tree], I'm nervous." Li Tai-hsiang and Chyi Yu also collaborated on a number of her other songs, including "Daylight Avenue," "Walking in the Rain" and "Your Smiling Face."
Li Tai-hsiang, a member of the Amis indigenous Taiwanese aboriginal community, was born in Taitung, Taiwan, on February 20, 1941. Despite the number of hit songs he had written, he never owned a home and lived in rental properties throughout his life. Li was quoted in a 2004 Taiwanese newspaper interview, "I'm a musician. My notes are my landscapes. My heart is full of beauty. I don't need a sofa or refined decor to complement it."
Li suffered from Parkinson's disease for the last 25 years of his life. He died from multiple organ failure at Taipei Tzu Chi General Hospital in Xindian, Taiwan, on January 2, 2014, at the age of 72. His wife had died about five years before his death. He was survived his son and daughter.
- "Li Tai-hsiang, composer of Olive Tree and other hits, dies at age 72". Strait Times. January 3, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.