In 1977 Jones secured a record deal with Island Records; with the aid of Compass Point All Stars she moved into new wave in 1980. She scored Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart with "Pull Up to the Bumper", "I've Seen That Face Before", "Private Life", "Slave to the Rhythm" and "I'm Not Perfect". Her albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981), and Slave to the Rhythm (1985).
She appeared in some low-budget films in the U.S. during the 1970s and early 1980s. Her first mainstream film was the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Douglas, and the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill. In 1986 she played a vampire in Vamp, and acted in and contributed a song to the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. She appeared alongside Tim Curry in the 2001 film Wolf Girl.
In 1983, Jones's One Man Show was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Long-Form Music Video. For her work in Conan the Destroyer, A View to a Kill, and Vamp, she was nominated Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress. In 1999, Jones ranked 82nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honored with a Q Idol Award. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Roisin Murphy, Brazilian Girls, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx.
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