Loaded was a mass-market men's lifestyle magazine launched in 1994. It ceased publication in March 2015.
Loaded was founded in 1994 by Mick Bunnage, Tim Southwell and James Brown, a former deputy editor of the music weekly New Musical Express. It was first published by IPC Media. The title of the magazine is believed to be named after the Primal Scream song of the same name. In its early days, the magazine's readership was once memorably described as "50% Sun readers and 50% Guardian readers". Brown described the irreverent comic Viz as an inspiration for Loaded. Holly Baxter, when the magazine closed, thought that Playboy was an influence on the title. In her view the title "tried to incorporate interviews and features that would make the publication seem a little less seedy" than Nuts, its more down market rival.
Commenting on the magazine's creation, Brown said: "I was told you need 99 straight guys and one weirdo to make a magazine. I did it the other way, I chose 99 weirdos." Loaded captured the lad culture of the time. The original editorial team, including Martin Deeson, Jon Wilde, Tim Southwell, Mick Bunnage, Rowan Chernin, Pete Stanton and Derek Harbinson.
The Loaded style was subsequently cloned many times, most obviously by Emap's FHM and Maxim, which became the highest selling men's magazine in the US for Dennis Publishing. Loaded also influenced women's monthlies, with Emap launching Minx, "For girls with a lust for life". In January 2004, IPC launched the weekly Nuts, announced as the world's first men's weekly, and Emap quickly followed with Zoo.
Loaded won the prestigious PPA Magazine Of The Year Award two times in a row, in 1995 and 1996. In 2007, Loaded was voted 49th in Industry website goodmagazine.com's Top 51 Magazines of All Time list, for the "Smartest, Prettiest, Coolest, Funniest, Most Influential, Most Necessary, Most Important, Most Essential, etc."
Launch Deputy Editor and later Editor, Tim Southwell, wrote about the early years of Loaded in Getting Away With It (Ebury Press, 1998). James Brown discussed the title at length and the impact it had on '90s culture in the documentary Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop.
Loaded had a circulation of 350,000 in 2000. The publication was edited by Martin Daubney from August 2003 to October 2010. Between 2003-2006, Loaded won numerous industry awards for design and journalism, including 'best designed fashion pages' at the Magazine Design Awards, for a spread of dogs photographed wearing jewellery. Loaded staff writer Jeff Maysh won five industry awards for journalism, including MJA Feature Writer of the Year, and PTC New Monthly Consumer Journalist of the year.
The circulation declined: in the first six months of 2007, Loaded recorded a 35% drop in circulation compared to the first half of 2006. In February 2010, Loaded received an ABC circulation figure that was down "just 2% over the period," compared with what Media Week called "eye-popping falls" for its competitors.
In the May 2008 issue of Loaded the editorial team had to print an apology to Heinz after claiming in an earlier issue that Heinz had produced a version of alphabetti spaghetti especially for the German market that consisted solely of tiny pasta shaped swastikas.
Loaded was bought by independent publishing house, Simian Publishing in September 2013.
Re-launch and closure
Loaded re-launched for its twentieth anniversary in 2014 under editor Aaron Tinney. Tinney commissioned self-proclaimed militant feminist Julie Burchill to write a regular column and Lia Nicholls as Deputy Editor, making her the first woman with an editorial role at the magazine. The re-launch also saw original Loaded writer Martin Deeson return to the magazine. In a feature for The Independent, Deeson compared Tinney to James Brown, the original "iconoclastic" Loaded editor.
The magazine's closure was announced in late March 2015, the last issue being for April of that year. This issue featured Noel Gallagher answering questions written by Irvine Welsh, but conveyed to him by a female journalist.
- Julie Burchill
- Jack Dee
- Ricky Hatton
- Peter Crouch
- Martin Deeson
- Irvine Welsh
- John Niven
- Donal MacIntyre
- Ben Camara
- Mark Sweney "Loaded magazine to close after 21 years", The Guardian, 27 March 2015
- Loaded magazine founder James Brown has joined Sumo.tv | Media | MediaGuardian Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- Interview: James Brown, the former editor of Loaded magazine | Business | The Guardian Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- All in the worst possible taste | | guardian.co.uk Arts Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- BBC News | BUSINESS | 'Lad-father' tackles Viz sales slide Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- Holly Baxter "Death of the lad mags? Loaded magazine bids farewell", The Independent, 27 March 2015
- "James Brown, Loaded (Inspiring Entrepreneurs - Hot off the Press)", British Library, YouTube Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- Alok Jha: Lad culture corrupts men as much as it debases women | Comment is free | The Guardian Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- The Guardian - Meet the man who wants to turn Loaded into a woman-friendly read
- The rise and rise of the laddery from `Loaded' | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at BNET.com[dead link]
- GOOD Magazine | Goodmagazine - The 51 Best* Magazines Ever Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- Martin Daubney: My Life In Media", The Independent, 9 October 2006 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- "I hit the jackpot - with help from lottery winner's auntie", Press Gazette, 14 August 2007 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- About Loaded, Official website Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- New Statesman - The dark world of lads' mags Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- John Reynolds "Magazine ABCs: More pain for established lads' titles", Media Week, 11 February 2010 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
- "IPC completes Loaded sale to Vitality". Guardian.co.uk. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- "Loaded magazine snapped up by multimillionaire 'porn star'". Guardian.co.uk. 29 April 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Turvill, William (18 June 2013). "Loaded magazine publisher goes into administration". Press Gazette. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- Loaded has fourth owner in three years with plan for more 'stylised and subtle' approach
- Burrell, Ian (4 September 2014). "Loaded has ditched the raunchy covers - but is it time for the men's magazine to just let go?".
- "ZIP Magazine". Home page. OOYEAH LTD. Retrieved 9 August 2013.