BBC wrote an interesting piece on the history of the steel pan:
Amid the electronica of 20th Century music one new instrument stands out for its simplicity. The steel pan, possibly the only instrument made out of industrial waste, has become an icon of Trinidadian culture.
“There is something about the steel pan and Caribbean music in general that resonates with the rest of the world,” says Professor Tim Wall.
The music has been keenly adopted by the pop world. The Hollies used the sound of the steel pan in their song Carrie Anne, Prince used it in his song New Position.
Go ahead and read the full story, but make sure to compare these two steel pans. They will get you in the right frame of mind.
Here is one you can buy new for $150:
And, a true Trinidad steel pan made out of chemical barrels: