The song tells the story of a narrator falling for a childhood friend called Deborah, who is more popular than he is and wondering what it would be like to meet again when they are older. The song is based on true events. Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker said "the only bit that isn't true is the woodchip wallpaper."
Deborah was based on a real life childhood friend of Cocker's, Deborah Bone, who moved away from Sheffield to Letchworth when she was 10. As the lyrics suggest, she did marry and have children.
It is believed that the fountain referred to as the meeting place was Goodwin Fountain, formerly located on Fargate, in Sheffield city centre. The song's riff is said to be influenced by Laura Branigan's 1980s hit "Gloria".
Due to its millennial subject matter, Pulp removed the song's synchronisation licence, effectively banning the song from being used in TV and radio trailers throughout 1999 and 2000.
"Disco 2000" was featured in Episode 7 of the first series of Life on Mars, where DI Sam Tyler hears it come on the radio in 1973, and mentions to DCI Gene Hunt that he had seen Pulp play the Manchester Nynex in 1996, to Hunt's bemusement. The song also appeared in a party scene in the 2013 Seth Rogen film This Is the End.