1974–1982: Global success and concept albums
For the band's fourth album, Eldorado, A Symphony, a concept album about a daydreamer, Lynne stopped overdubbing strings and hired an orchestra and choir instead. Louis Clark was hired by the band as string arranger. The first single off the album, "Can't Get It Out of My Head", became their first US top 10 hit, and Eldorado, A Symphony became ELO's first gold album. Mike de Albuquerque departed the band during the recording sessions as he wished to spend more time with his family, and consequently much of the bass on the album was performed by Lynne. Following the release of Eldorado Kelly Groucutt was recruited as bassist, and in early 1975 Melvyn Gale replaced Edwards on cello. The line-up stabilised as the band took to a decidedly more accessible sound. ELO had become successful in the US at this point and the group was a star attraction on the stadium and arena circuit, and regularly appeared on The Midnight Special (1973, 1975, 1976 & 1977) more than any other band in that show's history with four appearances.
Face the Music was released in 1975, producing the hit singles "Evil Woman", their third UK top 10, and "Strange Magic". The opening instrumental "Fire on High", with its mix of strings and acoustic guitars, saw heavy exposure as the theme music for the American television program CBS Sports Spectacular in the mid-1970s. The group toured extensively from 3 February to 13 April 1976, playing 68 shows in 76 days in the US.