Loaded’s 51 greatest covers (part the second)

We continue our rogues gallery of those who (along with Judge Dredd) made Loaded a publishing sensation.

A selection of Loaded magazine’s finest covers
The A-list Almost every big name has posed for Loaded down the decades. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Britney Spears was shot in her teenage boudoir, Angelina Jolie got her tatts out in a hotel room, Cameron Diaz went skinny dipping, Kathy Burke ’ad a fag and David Beckham was put on the back-burner in favour of a model called Christina Estrada. Welcome to part two of Loaded’s greatest covers.


Cindy Crawford
March 1997

Cindy Crawford gives readers an eyeful on the cover of Loaded
Cin city Crawford flashed her knickers on the cover of Loaded as Vanity Fair deemed the magazine an essential ingredient of Cool Brittania. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

A Who’s Who of ’90s models, this issue had Crawford on the cover with the innards featuring Claudia Schiffer, Eva Herzigova and Helena Christensen. The edition also saw Howard ‘Mr Nice’ Marks, in his regular column, declare his plan to run for parliament – prompting the headline: ‘That’s all we need, another dopey MP’. Loaded had reached such a peak Vanity Fair announced it was a vital part of Cool Britannia – in its issue splashed with the words ‘London Swings! Again!’ above a picture of Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit in bed under a Union Flag duvet.


Judge Dredd
April 1997

Judge Dredd was the April 1997 Loaded cover star
Dreddful Judge Dredd fronted a cut-price Loaded to mark his 20th birthday as Britain’s best lawmaker. The edition was claimed to be ‘cheaper than acid’. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

The Mega City One lawman created to satirise creeping state authoritarianism in pre-Thatcherite England celebrated his 20th birthday by landing a Loaded cover. The bargain cover price of £2.60 was hailed by the magazine as ‘cheaper than acid’.


Jo Guest… again
May 1997

Jo Guest was Loaded’s cover star the month New Labour swept to power
Huh-uh-huh Jo Guest sat in suspenders to chat to a scientist the month New Labour won their 1997 landslide election victory, and Loaded cast Blair as an evil-looking Beavis. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

The issue was put together just before New Labour’s landslide win on May 2, 1997. John Major and Tony Blair are cast here as Beavis and Butthead (Major as Butthead; Blair as Beavis) to mark the occasion, with Loaded’s incisive political analysis summed up by the cover line, ‘Uh-huh, you said election’. Jo Guest lowered the tone by sitting on a chair in suspenders, but inside Helen Mirren did her bit and spoke up for feminists.


Harry Hill
June 1997

Harry Hill rode a badger onto his Loaded cover
Fresh lunacy Harry Hill on a badger, along with a celebration of arses, Florida ecstasy and New Order. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

The former doctor’s cover repeated the enquiry used to introduced the magazine: ‘What fresh lunacy is this?’ Along with Hill riding a badger, the issue saw the formation of Loaded’s first AA group – the Arses Appreciation society.


David Beckham
September 1997

David Beckham was shunted off Loaded’s cover by a model
Beck of the cover David Beckham's 1997 interview was deemed so dull he was put on the bench in favour of Christina Estrada. He wasn’t happy. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Sorry, Dave. Your interview was just too boring to land you on the cover alone. The first time Loaded interviewed Goldenballs they decided he wasn’t forthcoming enough, so as punishment they superimposed a picture of model Christina Estrada over his curtained face. Becks’ biggest revelation inside was that he and Posh Spice were like “Liam (Gallagher) and Patsy (Kensit) – but for the kids”. In case you were wondering what became of her, Estrada is currently minted after she divorced a Saudi billionaire.


Kathy Burke
October 1997

Kathy Burke recreated Gary Oldman’s debut cover shot
c Kathy Burke recreated Gary Oldman’s fag-smoking debut cover shot for Loaded, alongside Waynetta Slob’s catchphrase. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Burke’s pose with a fag echoed the shoot on the cover of Issue 1 featuring Gary Oldman. The Oldman shoot was a pastiche of photographer Brian Duffy’s iconic Sixties portrait of Michael Caine, and Burke takes the parody further. She ’as a fag, with Waynetta Slob’s catchphrase splashed across the image. Inside, Burke continued to have several more fags and glasses of wine while saying things such as, “I’m not Pamela Anderson, I’m Kathy fucking Burke and if people don’t like it, they can fuck off.”


Ian Brown
February 1998

Ian Brown brought his monkey to his Loaded cover shoot
Everybody's got something to hide Except Ian Brown and his monkey when they met Loaded. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Brown’s pet primate Billy Bean spent the singer’s cover shoot shitting on his shoulder and scratching his skin so badly he drew blood. Brown shrugged off the shit while mouthing about how he was on a “one-man crusade to destroy cocaine” because “coke users are pussies”. According to Brown, Oasis were piss-poor, boring and no better than Status Quo.


Dennis Hopper
March 1998

Dennis Hopper fronts Loaded
Queasy rider Dennis Hopper talked about his battle to sober up and replace tequila with green tea. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Hopper was holed up in a bomb-proof metal shed in LA when he met Loaded, drinking green tea with his fifth wife. Then aged 62, Hopper spoke of his long battle with alcohol, but added he never regretted his life and ended the chat with his two-word philosophy: “Fuck you”. He lived for another 12 years after giving this interview.


Ulrika… Ka Ka
May 1998

Ulrika Jonsson handcuffed for Loaded magazine
Cuff justice Ulrika Jonsson in chains and Hunter S. Thompson joins the magazine. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Apparently Jonsson acted ‘fucking mental’ in her chat about sex, drugs and the benefits of having “massive tits”. Maybe that’s why the photographer decided to chain her up. The magazine also dispatched a team to spend time at Jamaica’s nudist resort, Hedonism II. And the daddy of Gonzo, Hunter Stockton Thompson, started to write for the mag, after ringing the office to say he loved it.


Mel C
July 1998

Mel C painted gold for Loaded’s World Cup ’98 issue
C-cup Sporty Spice carried England’s World Cup hopes for Loaded. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Football got an intellectual treatment again as France hosted the World Cup, with Sporty Spice covered in gold paint to mark the tournament. Further in, Rod Stewart admitted to pleasuring himself to his own songs. (No need for a Handbags and Gladrags joke.) At this point, Loaded was shifting more than 450,000 copies a month.


Alan Partridge
October 1998

Alan Partridge as Loaded’s cover star
Pawing me, pawing you Coogan gropes a couple of showgirls for his Loaded debut. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Steve Coogan’s first appearance in Loaded was much like his second. This time he appeared as his alter ego Partridge, book-ended by showgirls. When he later fronted the comedy special in 2011, aged 45, he was photographed putting his hands over then-21-year-old Page 3 girl Elle Basey’s breasts. He ended up going out with Basey for a while. Ah-urgh.


Cameron Diaz
February 1999

Cameron Diaz’s only ever naked photoshoot was for Loaded
Cam on Cameron Diaz's only naked photoshoot was for Loaded’s February 1999 issue. History! Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Five months before There’s Something About Mary came out, Diaz did her first and, as far as we know, only fully-frontal magazine shoot. She paddled naked in a swimming pool while chatting about how she liked it rough, loved guns and nearly died after a night drinking 30-year-old sake.


Pamela Anderson
March 1999

Pamela Anderson strips for Loaded
Pammy’s back... And, as the cover hilariously states, so is her front and her sides. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

This appearance was inevitable, what with Baywatch, her sex tape and Playboy shoots. Regular feature Dice Man was also introduced in the issue. It was based on Luke Rhinehart’s 1971 novel The Dice Man, about a psychotherapist who casts dice to make decisions. Loaded called it “the novel of the century”, and the adventures of their own “dice man” saw reporter Ben Marshall rolling dice to determine where his life would go. He went as far as taking heroin and persuading a girlfriend to audition as a stripper.


Catherine Zeta-Jones
May 1999

Catherine Zeta-Jones stripped in a bathroom for Loaded
Cool Cymru The young Catherine Zeta-Jones got steamy for Loaded. Image ©Loaded Digital Archive

The 61st issue featured a cover re-run of a Catherine Zeta-Jones’ photoshoot first printed in Loaded in 1995. Other Loaded picture sets revisited in the birthday issue included one showing Kate Moss holding a teddy bear and wearing just her pants. A pre-adulterous Tiger Woods also appeared. 


Sara Cox
July 1999

Sara Cox holding a ’99 to represent the end of 1999 for Loaded
Flaky Sara Cox alerts the world 1999 is nearly over by holding a ’99, in a bikini, against a space backdrop. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Sara Cox held a giant ’99 ice cream, because 1999 was melting away, we suppose. There were some planets in the background, perhaps because of the approach of the millennium. Inside, Howard Marks hit the road with fellow Welshmen Stereophonics and ‘Keananu’ Reeves was interviewed.


Jenny McCarthy
August 1999

Jenny McCarthy exposes Hollywood for Loaded
Run for the hills Jenny McCarthy heads up a Hollywood issue with a porn theme. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

The Loaded Goes to Hollywood edition had a clear theme. Jenny McCarthy of Playboy fame fronted the edition, and inside there was an interview with disabled porn mogul Larry Flynt. Flynt told the magazine he was just nine when he decided to fuck one of his granny’s chickens.


Tupac Shakur
January 2000

Loaded paid tribute to Tupac Shakur four years after his death
Tupac on the cover of Loaded Fans can enjoy Thug Passion cakes and Mac-and-Cheeseburgers at a new 2Pact themed restaurant Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

The millennium was marked with 100 different covers, from Tupac Shakur and Steve McQueen to Mary Whitehouse, The Simpsons, Lara Croft and the late Roger Lloyd-Pack. Founding editor James Brown had left the title in 1997, fearing he’d become a drink and drug addict if he stayed. By this stage, at least two of the Loaded staff had gone into rehab. 


Britney Spears
June 2000

Britney Spears posed in a mock-up of her teenage bedroom for Loaded
Brit pop It's a new century, and oops – Loaded did it again, by sticking a teenager on the cover. With a monkey. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Britney was persuaded to do her best Lolita act at the age of 18 for this Loaded shoot in a mock-up of her bedroom, complete with cuddly toys. The magazine can’t be blamed – it was Spears’ idea to exploit her youthful sexuality by dressing as a schoolgirl in her video Hit Me Baby (One More Time.)


Angelina Jolie
August 2000

Angelina Jolie talked knives and incest with Loaded
Jolie revealing Angelina talked knives, incest, insanity, sex and drugs during a naked hotel room photoshoot. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

This was Jolie before her damehood, global humanitarian campaigning, rainbow brood and Brad Pitt. In 2000, she was all about drugs, knives, hotel room nudity, tattoos, cars and the beauty of sex with anybody, anywhere – especially in trucks. The interviewer got in trouble with Jolie’s dad Jon Voight after the actor spotted him creeping into his daughter’s hotel room at night and mistook him for a drug dealer. Jolie also addressed the rumours she had an incestuous relationship with her brother, while she brandished a large knife.


Mel B
October 2000

Mel B covers her vitals in bees for Loaded
Buzzing Mel Bee. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Brown acted like her ‘Ya’ Bastards!’ caricature in Bo’ Selecta! by howling deafeningly during her interview about lesbian sex, oral sex, farting, multiple orgasms and kissing the Spice Girls. She also denied she’d ever shagged Geri Halliwell.


Al Pacino
November 2014

Al Pacino fronted Loaded’s relaunch
The reluctant don Pacino declares he never wanted the role that gave him global fame and fortune. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Quite the gap in our covers coverage, but the tits ‘n’ ass years from 2000 to around 2014 are best glossed over. Loaded was bought by a series of companies (including one with a sideline in porn) who perpetrated misguided attempts to rival weekly “jazz mags” Nuts and Zoo. They forgot the quality writing and humour that defined the original magazine and packed covers with no-mark glamour girls. This edition, fronted by Al Pacino, was Loaded back to its roots. Pacino explained why The Godfather was the role he never wanted and how booze wiped out a decade of his memories. Kill Your Friends author John Niven started a regular column, Jack Dee took on his role as agony uncle and Julie Burchill was agony aunt. The magazine also sent female journalists to the frontline against ISIS, and they embedded themselves with a group of female fighters battling the fanatics.


Idris Elba
December 2014

Idris Elba tells Loaded fame is like The Truman Show
The name’s Elba Idris Elba. Who discussed his chances of becoming the first black James Bond, racism and the surreal nature of fame. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

The tone was now firmly raised. Actor, style guru and king of cool Idris Elba fronted The Icons Issue, talking about racism and how fame made him feel as if he was in The Truman Show. Loaded’s new Men of the Year poll launched, which saw tragic Philip Seymour Hoffman voted No 1.


Ben Affleck
January 2015

Ben Affleck talked being hated with Loaded
Unmasked New Batman Ben relegated the vigilante’s former butler Michael Caine to the bottom corner of Loaded’s January 2015 cover. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

New Batman Ben and his wife Jennifer Garner spoke in back-to-back interviews and hinted at strains in their family life. Five months later their marriage went the same direction as the reviews for Daredevil. Michael Caine told how Hollywood bosses once thought he was gay and Muhammad Ali’s daughters revealed they have already written their father’s epitaph. 


February 2015

Kasabian celebrated Loaded’s 250th issue
Eez-eh Kasabian scribble on Loaded’s 250th birthday issue and tell how they nearly died partying. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

Loaded celebrated its 250th edition with Kasabian, who helped design the cover. Christian Bale told the new-look title why he didn’t feel “likeable enough” to be a mainstream movie star while Carl Barât talked depression, drugs and Pete Doherty.


Léa Seydoux
March 2015

Bond girl Léa Seydoux fronted Loaded’s Bond women special
Double ooh Léa Bond girl Seydoux and 007 madam Monica Bellucci headlined the penultimate copy of the magazine. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

A Bond girl – and woman – special, with Spectre stars Léa Seydoux and Monica Bellucci both shot and interviewed exclusively for the magazine. Big names returned in droves for interviews, with Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Patricia Arquette, Stephen Graham, Jamie Dornan and Eddie Redmayne also starred in the spring issue.


And finally…
Noel Gallagher
April 2015

Noel Gallagher was Loaded magazine’s final cover star
Don’t look back in anger Noel Gallagher and Irvine Welsh team up to say farewell to Loaded’s print form. Image ©Loaded Digital Limited Archive

It’s a brave new digital world, so this was the last print edition before Loaded relaunched here as an online magazine. The Gallagher edition, issue number 252, was on sale until the beginning of May, giving Loaded a 21-year print run. This final edition looked much like the Gary Oldman-fronted first issue, minus a cigarette in Gallagher’s gob. Old regular Irvine Welsh returned to Loaded to put questions to Noel about important issues such as pink jumpers and drugs. Gallagher revealed in a separate interview in the issue that he would like his epitaph to read, ‘Here lies Noel Gallagher. He had it more than you’ – much like Loaded magazine.

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