Homophobia and racism played a part in the backlash against disco and its eventual mainstream downfall.
Disco was gay, it was black, it was electronic, it was hedonistic, it was coke and ecstasy fuelled, it was producer and DJ led. It represented 'the other'. It was equally as anti-rock establishment as punk in many ways.
This didn't sit well with people.
Despite this, I believe the main reason reason that the backlash was as strong as it was, was simply due to over saturation.
In the late 70s, bars, pizza parlours clubs and pubs across the country were being transformed into discos. It was every where at the time; there was disco christmas, disco star wars, disco duck and all other sorts of ridiculousness. Plus all the big stars of the 60s and 70s were doing disco tracks too: Rod Stewart, Dolly Parton and Paul McCartney just to name a few.
It was invasive.
People were just sick of it, and it had reached a point beyond gimmicky.
The exact same thing happened to commercial dubstep. It got lame real fast. This made it an easy target for the rock-establishment, just like Justin Bieber is today for example.
But, disco had hit on a winning forumula and despite the backlash, it never really went away (especially in Europe].
And here's why...
Disco never really went away – it’s just that it’s always meant different things to different people in different places at different times, and has slipped in and out of favour depending on which aspect is highlighted.
Having lost its cool following the post ‘Saturday Night Fever’ feeding frenzy of the late 70’s, a bandwagon which, unfortunately, has provided the mainstream symbolism ever since, it was always on the back foot. For many years its cheesier connotations were emphasised whilst its sheer creativity and versatility was circumvented. The ‘Disco’ the media portrayed and, to a large extent, still portray, isn’t the Disco that survived.