Li Tai-hsiang

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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.[1] 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.[1] "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.[1] 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.[1] He omitted with donkey, which he felt would not easily connect with Taiwanese music fans.[1] Chyi Yu has stated in an interview that "Every time I sing this song [The Olive Tree], I'm nervous."[1] 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."[1]

Li Tai-hsiang, a member of the Amis indigenous Taiwanese aboriginal community, was born in Taitung, Taiwan, on February 20, 1941.[1] Despite the number of hit songs he had written, he never owned a home and lived in rental properties throughout his life.[1] 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."[1]

Li suffered from Parkinson's disease for the last 25 years of his life.[1] He died from multiple organ failure at Taipei Tzu Chi General Hospital in Xindian, Taiwan, on January 2, 2014, at the age of 72.[1] His wife had died about five years before his death. He was survived his son and daughter.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Li Tai-hsiang, composer of Olive Tree and other hits, dies at age 72". Strait Times. January 3, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014.